Satsuki Katayama, the only female minister in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet, has sued publisher Bungei Shunju Ltd, claiming its report in a weekly magazine that she accepted money in a graft scandal defamed her reputation.
In the lawsuit filed Monday with the Tokyo District Court, the regional revitalization minister sought 11 million yen in damages and said the Shukan Bunshun article contains factual errors, her lawyer said.
According to the lawsuit, the magazine issued last week reported that the owner of a manufacturing company paid 1 million yen to Katayama's secretary in 2015 in return for asking tax authorities for special treatment on the company's behalf.
The Katayama side claimed the article's headline, "1 million yen for talking to tax authorities," carried on newspaper advertisements and other media, gave the impression that she conducted an illegal act. It inflicted serious damage to her reputation even though she did not accept the owner's request, they said.
The publisher said in a statement it backs its article and will prove the truthfulness of the report in further upcoming articles.
Katayama, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat who doubles as minister in charge of women's empowerment, obtained her first ministerial post in the cabinet reshuffle last month.