July 26 2016, Tokyo Japan. Japanese Civil Court concludes that defamation and slander was conducted by Mitsuo Hataya (Current President of ZNTIR) and one of his highest Senseis, Kiyoshi Kiguchi, in a case brought forth by the defendants, Mukai (the former Vice President of ZNTIR) and Sando (The former General Affairs Officer). The Meiyokison 名誉毀損 was filed by the defendants in late 2015 when Hataya and Kiguchi accused Mukai and Sando of embezzlement in order to remove them from the Non Public Organization (NPO) Zen Nihon Toyama Ryu Iaido Renmei (ZNTIR). This embezzlement was stated to be caused by unauthorized removal of tatami for tamishigeri and failure to pay for such tatami. An accusation with NPO origins from a difference in Promotional Standards, where Mukai, a retired Police Superintendent, wanted to maintain strict adherence to quality standards and Hataya wanted sole decision in promotion and loosen written standard.
Mitsuo Hataya also filed a counter suit for damages and restriction of teaching Toyama Ryu. Both cases were held in parallel.
Examination of witnesses was conducted in March 2016 and final arguments conducted in May 2016. The Japanese District Court found/ordered in short that:
1. On Expulsion:
• “the court has evaluated the reasons of the expulsion and concluded that the reasons and conclusions of expulsion itself had been missing considerable rationality”
2. On Defamation:
• “The defamation caused by the defendants Hataya and Kiguchi are valid since the defendants, Hataya and Kiguchi, gave impressions to ZNTIR members through the actions of publicizing the embezzlement and dereliction of duty as reasons for the expulsion of the plaintiffs. The court decided that the actions taken by the defendants were unlawful. Therefore, the court has directed that the defendants, Hataya and Kiguchi, to pay consolation money to the plaintiffs”.
• “The Board and Secretary meeting on February 1st 2015, was held under very chaotic and disordered environment with abuses and slander coming from all around the room. The meeting was controlled by the defendants, Hataya and Kiguchi, as they pre-planned the conclusion and pressured the votes from members in order to purge the plaintiffs from ZNTIR”.
3. On Retraction and Apology:
• “the full retraction and apology would not be necessary since consolation money will be recovered from the plaintiffs as damages”
4. The countersuit and claim of damages raised by ZNTIR, Hataya and Kiguchi:
• “Mukai and Sando to remunerate fees for the tatami but that no embezzlement or negligence had occurred because fees were traditionally paid after tatami usage.
5. Authorization of Teaching TOYAMARYU
• “Since TOYAMARYU has never had a SOKE structure due to its origin, any person can teach TOYAMARYU as long as the individual has the educational competence and skill set”
Post script: Most of the ZNTIR senior staff resigned from the organization in Japan as a direct result of the court case and among other things*. The Senior Staff in conjunction with Sakaeda Sensei have formed a new NPO Group called Toyama Ryu Iai Batto Do Renmei. According to the ZNTIR website, Hataya has hired an attorney to assist in the dissolution of the ZNTIR NPO.
*Hataya’s Shop in Machida was raided and closed by police for 3 days in the past several months due to suspicion of money laundering and other activity with certain individuals in Osaka.