Toritsu University case

Tokyo District Court.
Document type
Court Decision
(1) In this case, an individual placed on a university’s website, a webpage that contained defamation of another. The plaintiff sought damages against both the one who built the webpage and the owner of the university, the City of Tokyo, the legal operator of the network that hosted the website.  
(2) The court found the defendant who posted the message liable, but refused to hold the City of Tokyo liable on the grounds that is was improper to impose on a party remote to the defamatory act, the duty to prevent its dissemination. The court reasoned that whether or not the network operator’s duty to prevent the occurrence of the tort arises depends on the nature of the case and should be reviewed on an individual basis. The court went on to note that even in the case where a network operator had knowledge of the fact of the actual transmission of a defamatory statement, making the operator bear a duty to prevent the transmission should be limited to extremely exceptional cases, when it would be clear “at a glance” with respect to the defamatory statement that the “attitude of the perpetrator was very vicious and the that the degree of the injury would be serious.”
Topic, claim, or defense
Defamation or Personality Rights
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Lowest Domestic Court
Type of service provider
Host (Including Social Networks)
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
Strengthens Immunity
General intermediary liability model
Complete Immunity