Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper released a statement on Tuesday that one of its Fukuoka-based reporters had been fired for accidentally sending sensitive investigative information to the wrong people. 33 year old Masahiro Goto had been researching a police officer who was believed to have accepted bribes from members of a yakuza gang. On July 20th, Goto meant to send some of his research findings to colleagues via email, but instead sent the messages to several media outlets, disclosing the identities of his sources.
Just as in the U.S., Japan upholds strict standards when it comes to journalistic ethics and keeping sources of confidential information unidentified. The Yomiuri said that Goto’s careless actions put those news sources in danger, and severely damaged the reputation of one of the nation’s leading newspapers. Yomiuri representatives also said that Goto’s superiors would held responsible, as they failed to address the matter appropriately upon learning of the reporter’s actions. Their punishments will include reductions in pay and demotions.
The case that Goto had been investigating involved a Fukuoka police officer who had been arrested in July for having direct connections with members of a crime syndicate. Separate from the reporter’s actions, the Yomiuri’s Fukuoka bureau was also found to have published a paper with an inaccurate article about a police investigation into the local yakuza. The police filed a claim against the July 22nd issue, but the newspaper did not respond properly.