Supreme Court Finds H.P Nikken Guilty of Libel and Orders him to Pay Damages
On March 31, 1992, at a gathering of some 400 priests at the Grand Main Hall on the grounds of Taiseki-ji Temple, H.P Nikken publicly accused Rev. Ikeda, chief priest of Seiyu-ji Temple in Shiga Prefecture, of having accepted 50 million yen (approx. US$424,000*) from the Soka Gakkai to secede from the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood. Moreover,H.P Nikken accused Rev. Ikeda of bribing other priests to also secede, with promises of 50 million yen up front and monthly stipends of 800,000 yen (approx. US$6,700*) to leave Nichiren Shoshu.
Rev. Takudo Ikeda (Se-O-ji, Shiga Prefecture) criticized the authoritarian leadership of H.P Nikken, and left Nichiren shosyu together with other nine young priests on February 2, 1992 and formed Nichiren Shoshu Reformation League.
On March 30, 1992, during H.P Nikken’s guidance meeting, ten young priests stood up and directly remonstrated Nikken by saying, “You are the cause for entire evil doing!”
On the next day, embarrassed H.P Nikken defamed Takudo Ikeda, who had left him earlier, in his speech to 400 priests and acolytea. He lied that Takudo Ikeda had received 50 million Yen from Soka Gakkai and a monthly salary of 800,000 Yen for his separation from Nichiren Shosyu.
Since Nikken lied with fabricated story, Ikeda sued H.P Nikken to Otsu district court for libel on May of the same year.
Rev. Ikeda filed a libel suit with the Otsu District Court against the Nichiren Shoshu chief administrator in May of the same year. The district court ruled in favor of plaintiff Takudo Ikeda on January 19, 1998, and defendant H.P Nikken Abe subsequently filed an appeal with the Osaka High Court.
However, on December 14, 2000, the Osaka High Court upheld the lower court ruling and rejected the defendant’s appeal. With the Supreme Court’s final decision that rejected defendant Nikken Abe’s previous appeals, plaintiff Rev. Takudo Ikeda has won a clear victory in his original libel claim against Nichiren Shoshu Chief Administrator Nikken.