Japan's Salvation Army Major Yamaya Makoto, who accused Christian Today in Korea founder Dr. David Jang and Christian Today Japan as related to Unification Church, has been convicted Wednesday at Tokyo district court for defamation and must pay a penalty of 950,000 Yen ($9,500 USD).
In the past years, Makoto has systematically published on his blog large numbers of commentaries accusing Christian Today Japan as related to the Unification Church. He claimed that the community led by Jang, who is the also the founder of Olivet University, believes that Jang is the second coming of Christ and that Christian Today Japan follows such heretical doctrine.
Tokyo district court Judge Toda Hisashi said in the ruling that the internet blog articles by Makoto did not perform careful analysis on the basis of documentation at objective and reasonable grounds.
Moreover, the presiding judge stated that Makoto's accusations that Christian Today Japan is "brain-washing their employees" and is a dummy organization of Unification Church have no "reasonableness for believing to be true."
Although Yamaya is a Salvation Army Major in Japan, Salvation Army has drawn a line between them and Yamaya by saying that his comments are purely his opinions and has completely no relationship with the organization.
The judge ruled that because Christian Today Japan suffered unreasonable damages caused by baseless accusations, Makoto is ordered to compensate $940,000 Yen and must delete all of the articles and blog accounts defaming the plaintiff, Christian Today Japan.
"For an organization that provides information only with respect to Christianity, the effects of being accused as a cult organization most likely have impaired significantly the credibility of its activities," said Judge Hisashi, adding that Yamaya's commentaries have deviated from the sphere of personal opinions and was illegal.
Meanwhile, Makoto's accusations were spread beyond the borders of Japan. A media in Korea took advantage of the Yamaya's claims and widely spread the rumors to Hong Kong and Japan, which resulted in their prosecution by Korea's criminal court. While the case was escalated to higher court, the original ruling of guilty was maintained by Korea's Supreme Court on January 28, 2010.