Okinawa Suicides: Japanese Court Rejects Defamation Lawsuit Against Nobel Laureate

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A Japanese court rejected a defamation lawsuit on Friday against Kenzaburo Oe, the 1994 Nobel laureate in literature, agreeing with his depiction of involvement by the Japanese military in the mass suicides of civilians in Okinawa toward the end of World War II.

In a closely watched ruling, the Osaka District Court threw out a $200,000 damage suit that was filed by a 91-year-old war veteran and another veteran’s surviving relatives, who said there was no evidence of the military’s involvement in the suicides.

The plaintiffs had also sought to block further printing of Mr. Oe’s 1970 book of essays, “Okinawa Notes,” in which he wrote that Japanese soldiers had told Okinawans they would be raped, tortured and murdered by the advancing American troops and coerced them into killing themselves instead of surrendering.

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