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Yomiuri Shimbun files another lawsuit against Hidetoshi Kiyotake

by on Dec.01, 2012 @ 1:56 am, under NPB

The Yomiuri Shimbun filed another lawsuit against Hidetoshi Kiyotake and are claiming eleven million yen in damages.

According to Yomiuri, in December 2010, then team rep Kiyotake ordered someone in the Sports Department to send him a number of unpublished articles on former managers like Shigeo Nagashima and Tetsuharu Kawakami and leaked them to someone living overseas.  E-mail evidence was found on a computer that was used by Kiyotake.

Yomiuri is claiming eleven million yen in damages and is requesting an injunction that prohibits use of the documents.

Source: Daily Sports 11/30/2012, Sponichi 11/30/2012

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Hidetoshi Kiyotake to seek an additional 10M yen in damages

by on Jul.24, 2012 @ 7:50 pm, under NPB

Hidetoshi Kiyotake held a press conference today to announce that he will be seeking an additional 10M yen in damages against the Yomiuri Giants and team chairman Tsuneo Watanabe because of recent slanderous statements they made against him, specifically the ones that named him as the most likely suspect in leaking Tatsunori Hara's past affair to the media.

Kiyotake claims that while he did know of Hara's affair and of the financial transaction Hara made to two individuals to keep them quiet, he was never given detailed information of what exactly went on.

Source: Sponichi 7/24/2012, Daily Sports 7/24/2012

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Shukan Bunshun: Tatsunori Hara paid former gangsters 100M yen

by on Jun.20, 2012 @ 3:04 pm, under NPB
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The June 28 issue of Shukan Bunshun is carrying an article entitled "Manager Hara paid former gangsters 100M yen."  The Yomiuri Giants held a press conference in Tokyo today and informed the media that the article was not entirely true and that they planned to file for damages.

According to the Giants, two men approached Hara in 2006 about a woman he had "troubles with" in 1988 and demanded 100M yen to keep quiet.  At the time of the incident, Hara did not know the two men had questionable pasts.  The Giants also learned from the Metropolitan Police Department that the two men were not gangsters.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/20/2012


Daily Sports has published two open letters written by Hara, one to Hidetoshi Kiyotake, and the other to fans.

First, the one to Kiyotake:

Dear Kiyotake-san,

Many things have been reported in the press lately that have caused Yomiuri Giants' players, former players, and personnel pain.  The many things that have been revealed have caused a lot of disorder within in the Yomiuri Giants.  The players and former players are having a difficult time dealing with the issues.  As the manager of the team, I have also felt much pain through all of this.

I want to know why these things are still continuing.  Who else, other than Kiyotake-san, could be doing this?

In some ways, I am glad this latest incident is about me.

I met Kiyotake-san when the Giants were at a low.  We ate from the same pot of cooked rice, we had the same goals.  We cried together during tough times and good time.  We were loved by fans.  We worked hard to build a strong team.  We won three pennants.  We even won a Nippon Series.

There were many before us that helped the Giants grow, that protected this organization.  There are many that hope this team can help bridge dreams to the future.  I continue to believe that you are one of these people, Kiyotake-san.

Please take pride in the fact that you were once a member of the Yomiuri Giants organization.

There is still time.

Hara Tatsunori

And the second to fans:

I had a relationship with a certain woman sometime around 1988.  I ended it with her shortly thereafter, but eighteen years later, during the year I made my return as manager, in August 2006, I received a phone call from someone connected to the Pro Yakyu.  They said, "There is a diary with information about your relationship with a woman.  If this comes out to the public, it will cause a major uproar in the baseball world.  I want you to entrust me with keeping it from getting out."

I felt I was being blackmailed and I felt uneasy.  But I also understood they were going to save me, so I paid them the money.  It was a difficult decision.  My personal manager said that I should inform the team and file a report with the police if the calls did not stop.

After that, there were no additional calls.  But in 2009, a different man called the team and said, "A diary containing information about a relationship was given to the manager.  I want that returned." I told the team everything at that point.  I also told my wife.  I felt she was going to be the one that gets hurt the most.

The man that called was arrested.  I heard he was found guilty.  I thought I would offer an explanation in my own words to avoid misunderstandings, once things became clear.  I wanted to let out my thoughts and take responsibility of my actions.

This was of my own doing and I feel I did something foolish.  As a person that has coached many players, I am deeply remorseful.  To all the fans, I am very sorry.

Yomiuri Giants, Hara Tatsunori


UPDATE @ 7:58pm - The Asahi Shimbun article fighting ham linked to down below mentioned the following:

Two men approached Hara in August 2008 and demanded 100M yen to keep quiet.  Hara borrowed money from a friend and paid the two men.  Hara did not inform the police or the Giants.

In April 2009, a former gang leader demanded the Giants return the diary.  One of the two members that approached Hara in 2008 used to belong to the former gang leader's group.  The Giants launched an internal investigation it was then that Hara admitted he paid two men off.

The member that used to belong to a gang was arrested in December 2009 after he threatened a Giants' employee (he said he had a bomb).

During today's press conference, team president Tsunekazu Momoi told reporters that Hara did not file a report with the police in 2009 because of the two men that approached him was dead.

And one other update, this one from Daily Sports - Kiyotake's lawyer spoke to reporters about Hara's open letter to Kiyotake.  His comment:

It sounds like it is trying to guide the media by pointing to Kiyotake.  I have not read the Shukan Bunshun article and I do not know what was said during Yomiuri's press conference.  Whatever Hara is said to have said...  I do not believe it was really him.  I do not think he was moving on his own.  Mentioning Kiyotake and making him out to be the bad guy is the easiest thing to do.


UPDATE 6/21 @ 12:21am - Team owner Kojiro Shiraishi told reporters on Wednesday he felt there was no need for Hara to resign from his post as manager.  He also said it would be good to use this opportunity to settle all past debts and allow Hara to move on.  Source: Sanspo 6/20/2012

Nikkan Sports published an open letter from Kiyotake that said, in a nutshell, he was innocent and the Yomiuri Giants were trying to put the squeeze on him.  (I would translate the entire letter, but it is a bit long and I am strapped for time right now.)


UPDATE 6/21 @ 12:54am - Shukan Bunshun has posted posted a bit on the article.


UPDATE 6/21 @ 11:07pm - Some updates:

  • Two Nippon TV shows (Sukkiri from 8:00am to 10:25am and Joho Live Miyane-ya from 1:55pm - 3:50pm) did not provide any Hara coverage.  Yomiuri Shimbun is a major shareholder of Nippon TV.  Source: Daily Sports 6/21/2012
  • When reporters approached team chairman Tsuneo Watanabe for comment Wednesday night, he said just one thing before climbing into his car: "Good evening."  Source: Sanspo 6/21/2012
  • Only four people reportedly knew the particulars of what happened in 2009.  Of those four, it seems Kiyotake was the only one that might have a motive.  Kiyotake also apparently dropped hints that he would reveal the information last November.  The team is also said to have recordings of Kiyotake telling team employees he controlled Hara's fate.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012, Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • I forgot to mention early on that the diary also contained the names of two people that were Yomiuri coaches in 2006.  This was reportedly another reason why Hara ultimately decided to pay off the two men.  Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • The Giants stressed three points during their press conference on Wednesday: 1)  money was not paid to a gang; 2) Hara never met the individuals and was never pressured into doing anything else; 3) they felt the Shukan Bunshun article might make people think Hara paid money to a gang and wanted to clarify things.  Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • Hara did not personally pay off the two men -- he had two people from his personal office take the money to them and retrieve the diary.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012
  • Sponichi has posted a brief timeline.
  • Sponichi notes the irony of Hara appearing in an anti-gang poster for the Metropolitan Police Department in 2009.
  • The team did not provide the players with any explanations on Wednesday.  Some players did not find out until reporters asked them for comment.  Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012
  • Hara rounded up the players and staff at the team hotel in Nagano today and apologized for the distraction.  The team then headed to the stadium for about two hours of practice.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/21/2012
  • Sanspo has posted brief Q&As with Hara and Momoi.


UPDATE 6/23 @ 12:32am - A couple of updates:

  • The NPB is keeping an eye on things and is also refraining from making any comments at this time.  Source: Sanspo 6/22/2012
  • The Giants received 46 phones calls and e-mails on Wednesday and 146 phone calls and e-mails on Thursday.  The team did not provide reporters with a breakdown of the kinds of calls they received, but did say that some were supportive and some were critical.  Source: Sanspo 6/22/2012


UPDATE 6/26 @ 2:37pm - Chairman Watanabe told reporters on Monday that he had no plans to dismiss Hara and that he expected him to return next season as well (they signed him to a two-year deal before the start of the current season).

Watanabe also mentioned that Kiyotake told three people connected to the Yomiuri Giants that he was going to get Hara and that he was going to expose him.

"Before Kiyotake left, he told three people he was going to get Hara and expose him.  And one of those three people recorded the conversation.  So Kiyotake is the source," said Watanabe.

Source: Sponichi 6/26/2012


UPDATE 6/26 @ 5:48pm - According to Nikkan Sports, Kiyotake's lawyer told reporters that his client had nothing to do with leaking Hara's affairs and that the Yomiuri Group were making up stories again.


UPDATE 7/4 @ 12:37am - Kiyotake made an appearance on Nico Nico Nama Hoso and denied he was the leak in the Hara story.  He also invited Hara to do a show with him on Nico Nico if he had any questions or concerns.  Source: Daily Sports 7/3/2012


UPDATE 7/4 @ 5:54pm - Kiyotake claimed during his Nico Nico appearance that he did not find out about the payoff until he was given a report on it.  He also said that he did not know how things were handled after that.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/4/2012

Yomiuri Giants withdraw request to secure Kiyotake’s mobile phone records

by on Jun.19, 2012 @ 11:10 pm, under NPB
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The Yomiuri Giants submitted a request to the Tokyo District Court on May 21 to have Hidetoshi Kiyotake's mobile phone records released by his carrier.  Hiroharu Yoshimine, Kiyotake's lawyer, informed the media on Monday that the Giants withdrew their request on June 15.

According to Yoshimine, the Giants wanted the courts to secure Kiyotake's mobile phone records as evidence he contacted a third party and leaked company secrets.

"It is obvious the Giants withdrew their request because they were afraid it would be turned down," said Yoshimine.

The Giants response: "We considered a third-party opinion and decided to withdraw the request on our own volition."

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/18/2012

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Hidetoshi Kiyotake files additional defamation suit against Yomiuri

by on Jun.06, 2012 @ 1:04 am, under NPB
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Hidetoshi Kiyotake filed an additional defamation suit against the Yomiuri Group, team chairman Tsuneo Watanabe, and the Yomiuri Giants on Tuesday for their recent claim that he removed confidential documents from the team offices.  Kiyotake is claiming about 24M yen in damages -- 10M yen plus a written/published apology (worth about 14M yen).

During a press conference, Kiyotake said that he did not intentionally remove documents from the team offices and did not leak any documents to a third party.

Kiyotake and his lawyer also filed an objection against documents that were seized by the Tokyo District Court from WAC Inc (publishing company) on behalf of the Yomiuri Giants.  If the four seized documents are released by the courts, the Kiyotake camp plans to distribute copies to all media outlets.

Additionally, Yomiuri and Sports Hochi reporters were turned away from Kiyotake's press conference because their parent company's involvement in the lawsuit.

Sources: Nikkan Sports 6/5/2012, Asahi Shimbun 6/6/2012, Yomiuri 6/5/2012, Sponichi 6/6/2012

UPDATE 6/6 @ 2:03pm - added a few more details.

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Asahi Shimbun not happy with Yomiuri Shimbun’s latest reports on Hidetoshi Kiyotake

by on May.31, 2012 @ 9:21 pm, under NPB
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Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun are squaring off again on the player bonus articles that appeared earlier this year.

On May 26, Yomiuri Shimbun reported that there was a good chance Hidetoshi Kiyotake was responsible for an internal document leak that resulted in a "misinformed" Asahi Shimbun article about the Giants handing out extremely high bonuses to players.  The Yomiuri report also mentioned that Kiyotake was in contact with an Asahi Shimbun reporter.

Asahi Shimbun fired back with a written objection on Wednesday: they stood by their article ("it was not misinformed") and added that Yomiuri's report on May 26 could lead readers into believing that their reporter knew Kiyotake stole internal documents from the Yomiuri offices.

Asahi Shimbun's Mass Media and Human Rights Conduct Committee also decided today that a petition submitted by the Yomiuri Giants and Yoshinobu Takahashi, Shinnosuke Abe, Tetsuya Utsumi, and Takahiko Nomaguchi (players that were named in the Asahi Shimbun article) on April 27 will be reviewed.

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Yomiuri Giants: very good chance Hidetoshi Kiyotake was responsible for player/bonus leak

by on May.26, 2012 @ 11:12 pm, under NPB
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The Yomiuri Giants' team president Tsunekazu Momoi held a press conference today and announced that there was a very good chance that former team rep Hidetoshi Kiyotake was involved in the player/bonus document leak that resulted in an Asahi Shimbun report in March.  The claim was made based on investigations made by a independent panel that was hired by the team and by new developments that emerged earlier in the day.

Among some of the things that were revealed:

  • Information found by the independent panel:
    • At least twenty-four documents were leaked.
    • Only two people had access: Momoi and Kiyotake.
    • Kiyotake used a company mobile phone to contact an Asahi Shimbun reporter at least seven times, with the first call on November 12, 2011, just one day after his press conference.
  • Kiyotake sent twenty-five cardboard boxes to his publisher, Wak Inc on November 18, 2011.  The Tokyo District Court secured the boxes and found a number of team documents contained inside the boxes, including a list of expenses for new players.

Kiyotake and his lawyer were approached for comment and informed reporters that of the 126 documents found, only four were confirmed.

UPDATE 5/30 @ 2:30am - Team president Momoi held another press conference on Tuesday to release the following comment made by Toshio Takano, a lawyer and the chairman of the independent panel:

It was confirmed that a number of documents that were secured on May 26 were also documents this panel suspected as being leaked.  Based on this, it is possible to say that Hidetoshi Kiyotake did take internal documents from the team offices.

Kiyotake is expected to hold a press conference of his own within the next day or so to refute the statement.

UPDATE 7/3 @ 1:38am - Wak Inc filed an objection with the Tokyo District Court on Monday.  The objection states that their offices were searched without any discrimination, that it infringed on the freedom of research, and that it was unfair.

According to Wak Inc, Kiyotake had a large amount of his things sent to their offices after his termination at Yomiuri.  The Giants claimed that important internal documents were included.  Their offices were searched on May 26 -- not only was a desk used by Kiyotake searched, but also lockers and desks in every department. An individual representing the Giants was also present.

Wak Inc is concerned at how easily provisional dispositions are granted and how that could lead to exposure of confidential sources and information.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/2/2012

UPDATE 10/18 @ 2:05am - The Tokyo District Court rejected Wak Inc's objection on Wednesday.  Yomiuri claimed that confidential documents (four items) were found at the Wak offices and that the search did not infringe on the freedom of research.  Source: Nikkan Sports 10/17/2012

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Yomiuri Shimbun trying to get out of a contract with book publisher

by on May.11, 2012 @ 3:59 am, under Other
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A book about the suicide of former Dai-Ichi Kangyo bank chairman Kunjii MIyazaki was published in 1998.  Yomiuri Shimbun articles were gathered together for the book.  Former Yomiuri GM Hidetoshi Kiyotake's work was included.

In May 2011, Yomiuri Shimbun signed a contract with Nanatsu-no Mori Shokan to republish the book in January 2012.

The media learned on Tuesday that Yomiuri Shimbun filed a lawsuit against Nanatsu-no Mori Shokan to void the contract.

Yomiuri Shimbun approached Nanatsu-no Mori Shokan in December and asked them to cancel the contract in exchange for monetary compensation (the paper apparently said they could not justify having a book published with material written by Kiyotake).  The publisher declined and the paper filed a lawsuit to void the contract last month.

A spokesperson for Yomiuri Shimbun told reporters that an unauthorized individual representing the paper signed the contract and that they had to take the case to court because they could not reach an agreement with the publisher despite meeting with them a number of times.

Via Asahi Shimbun

UPDATE 5/17 @ 8:36pm - According to a Sponichi article from May 14, the Shuppan Ryutsu Taisaku Kyogikai (a group of small book publishers) wants Yomiuri Shimbun to withdraw the suit and to apologize to Nanatsu-no Mori Shokan.

Earlier today, Hidetoshi Kiyotake held a press conference at The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan and called Yomiuri's attempt to break out of the contract unreasonable and disgraceful.  He added that the paper was continuing to have problems a half year after he spoke out against them.

Kiyotake also said that if chairman Tsuneo Watanabe was behind the suit, he wanted someone at the paper to build up enough courage to stop him and that it was ultimately up to the people at Yomiuri Shimbun to either stop causing problems, or take action and prevent others in the company from doing bad things.

UPDATE 6/16 @ 1:53am - Sponichi reports that the Tokyo District Court granted a provisional order to halt sales of the book (the rights to the book ultimately belong to Yomiuri and the agreement was made by someone without the necessary authority).  The book publisher plans to file an objection with the court.

UPDATE 6/19 @ 10:47pm - Nanatsu-no Mori Shokan filed an objection with the Tokyo District Court today and claimed a possible infringement on the freedom of expression.  Source: Sponichi 6/19/2012

UPDATE 6/23 @ 2:46am - The Shuppan Ryutsu Taisaku Kyogikai was not happy with the court ruling to halt sales of the book.  Their statement: "The decision is unjust because it was influenced by the idea that big newspapers are good and small publishing companies and whistler-blowers are bad.  It also infringes on the freedom of expression and publication."  Source: Sponichi 6/22/2012

And to clarify some things: Yomiuri Shimbun filed two provisional dispositions, one on halting sales on grounds of copyright and another on halting publication on grounds of right of honor, in addition to the lawsuit to void the original contract.  Nanatsu-no Mori filed a defamation lawsuit against Yomiuri Shimbun and claimed 2M yen in damages.

If I am not mistaken, the provisional disposition on copyright was granted on June 15.  The provisional disposition on right of honor was dismissed by the Tokyo District Court on Friday.

Keeping track of everything has been somewhat difficult so if I have made any mistakes up above, please let me know.

UPDATE 10/17 @ 2:56am - The Intellectual Property High Court decided to reject the appeal to temporarily halt sales of the book.  Nanatsu-no Mori is planning to file a special appeal.  Source: Nikkan Sports 10/16/2012

Yomiuri Giants Document Leak: Hidetoshi Kiyotake’s lawyer answers back

by on Mar.22, 2012 @ 1:15 am, under NPB
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Hidetoshi Kiyotake's lawyer, Hiroharu Yoshimine, spoke to reporters on Wednesday on provided them with the following comment:

We do not have any spare time to pay attention to what a selfish elderly man, that can no longer distinguish between right and wrong, says.  We have no time to waste on how low the journalistic integrity of Yomiuri Shimbun has been over the last few days.

We have a plan and we have no intention of stooping down to the levels of a selfish elderly man that utters nonsense, or a newspaper with such low standards.

Will will be fair and we will take the high road.


Yomiuri Giants' chair Tsuneo Watanabe did not respond to requests from the media on Wednesday.  Team president Tsunekazu Momoi and team rep Atsushi Harasawa also did not speak to the media.


Shigeo Nagashima told Yomiuri Shimbun that he was worried about the players, in particular the four he managed (Yoshinobu Takahashi, Koji Uehara, Tomohiro Nioka, and Shinnosuke Abe), that were publicly outed by Asahi Shimbun.  He also could not understand why something that did not break the rules and happened ten years ago could become a story now.

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Yomiuri Giants Document Leak: Tsuneo Watanabe points finger at Hidetoshi Kiyotake

by on Mar.21, 2012 @ 2:21 am, under NPB
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Nikkan Sports posted the following interaction Yomiuri Giants' chairman Tsuneo Watanabe had with the media on Monday.

What are your thoughts on Asahi Shimbun's reply to Yomiuri's request for a written apology?

It is not a reply.  They wrote that multiple internal sources and documents prove their story to be true.  Who are those multiple sources?  Well, I looked into it too.  There is only one.  Internal documents are top secret and these documents were stolen.  In other words, we have a thief.  They will not show the documents even though they were stolen.

Will you protest?

Of course we will.  But we will do something that has a little more impact.

There was mention of taking legal measures.

Before taking legal measures, legal measures are a civil case.  We can also make this a criminal case.  We are looking into that now.

With regards to the document leak, there are some that feel former team rep [Hidetoshi] Kiyotake may have been involved.

It there another option?  Could there be anyone else?  I looked into everything.  The document leak, it was stolen.  It is a case for the police.  Obstruction of business using deception, aggravated breach of trust, he is a former employee so this is what it would be.  If, of course, this is true.  We are discussing this theft with the authorities.

Have you read former team rep Kiyotake's [new] book?

No.  Do you think I have enough free time to waste on reading such a silly book like that?  There are more pressing books I want to read like those on nuclear energy and TPP.  I do not have any time to spare on worthless books written by such a vulgar man.