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News Service President Resigns in Plagiarism Case

July 18, 1991

TOKYO (AP) _ The president of Japan’s Kyodo News Service will step down in September to take responsibility for plagiarism in a health series run on the Kyodo wire for nearly a year, the news agency reported today.

The agency said Kyodo’s board approved the resignation of Shinji Sakai, 71, after completion of a report by a commission assigned to prevent plagiarism at the agency.

Managing Diector Yasuhiko Inukai will succeed Sakai, said officials at Kyodo, the nation’s largest news wire.

The case involved a health series of 51 stories by senior writer Hidetoshi Okada, 49, that ran between April 1990 and March.

Okada was fired May 16 after it was learned the stories were almost identical with a series published 17 years earlier in the national newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

In keeping with the Japanese practice of collective responsibility, Sakai took a pay cut of 10 percent for a month and the managing editor, Ichiro Saita, lost his post.

Inukai, who was managing director and editor-in-chief, gave up the post of editor-in-chief and took a pay cut of 10 percent for one month.

The officials said Sakai, who has been president of the agency since June 1985, will formally resign at the next board meeting, scheduled for Sept. 19.

They said the 63-year-old Inukai’s formal appoinment will be approved at that time.

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