Indigenous Taiwanese woman wins damages from broadcaster NHK

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 November, 2013, 6:46am


A Japanese court has ordered public broadcaster NHK to pay 1 million yen in damages to an indigenous Taiwanese woman for defaming her by using the term "human zoo" in a programme, officials said yesterday.

Overturning a lower court ruling, the Tokyo High Court ordered NHK on Thursday to pay damages to the woman, with presiding judge Noriaki Sudo reportedly saying the broadcaster used a term that had a "serious discriminatory meaning".

The programme looked at the "Japan-Britain Exhibition" held in London in 1910 to which Japan took several members of Taiwan's aboriginal population, including the father of the woman, as exotic exhibits, Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported.

Taiwan was a Japanese colony at the time, and the practice of exhibiting the little-known peoples of far-flung territories was common among Western powers.

In the ruling, Sudo said NHK "repeatedly used the term without giving consideration to its discriminatory meaning", which implied the people of the Paiwan - Taiwan's indigenous population - were uncivilised, the Tokyo Shimbun reported.

In a statement yesterday, NHK said: "We are sorry that our argument was not taken up."