On 25 January 2023, the Tokushima District Court dismissed a restaurant’s lawsuit asking compensation for reputational damage caused by public authorities when, in July 2020, they made it known to the public that a person, later confirmed as a COVID case, had entered into the premises. The plaintiff claimed that the name of the restaurant was made known without consent and that the spread of the news had damaged its reputation.

The court, however, noted that the spread of the virus was a concern for the public authorities and that it was urgent for them to act. Their conduct was therefore justified. Moreover, the public authorities merely informed the public of an objective fact (i.e., the presence of a COVID case in the restaurant) and did not spread information that could lead people to believe that it was dangerous to eat in the restaurant.

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