Appealing alone

Early this year, the World Health Organization named “vaccine hesitancy” as the top global threats for the first time in its history. The court decision on the lawsuit against me from the Japanese doctor who claims the dangers of the HPV vaccines on March 26th chilled the global scientific community as an immediate threats for science.

The news of the decision was reported in major international media, such as Financial Times, Nature and Science. Those overseas media called this court decision “a victory of anti-vaccine over science”. I received numerous messages from scientists, doctors and journalists in the world, who sympathize with me or resent to this decision.

Meanwhile, I  appealed to the higher court as of April 8th.

The publishing house “Wedge” and its editor-in-chief Mr. Oe accepted the decision, although they had said “We will protect you and your article until the end”. I had believed in this word for two and a half years since I was sued, or three and a half years since I published my first article about the HPV vaccines called “Was that violent fit really caused by the HPV vaccines?” on October 2015. However, their word was not kept, that means the parts of my articles will be deleted and Wedge will publish apologies about my articles.

It is true that the HPV vaccines has nothing to do with the business of Wedge and their mother company. Mr.Oe has long since left the chair of editor-in-chief, and he is not even working in the media any more. I feel sorry for their decision, but I understand and respect it.

Many of my close friends who worried about me and my family said I don’t have to appeal. I fought enough. But after long discussion with the people who support me and my family, and I thought about it by myself again and again, I decided to appeal.
I believe, as a doctor, there is something more important than one’s fame or the result of the lawsuit. The most important thing to do is to protect people’s lives and science.

With the support  of “Mamoreruinochiwo Mamorukai (Protect the Lives We Can)”, I could become able to appoint a group of great lawyers for the appeal court.

One of them is Mr. Keiichi Hiraiwa, who  won the case of Fukusima Prefectural Ono Hospital and saved the Japanese medical care from destruction, together with Mr. Ayumu Mizutani who worked with Hiraiwa for Ono Hospital case. Mr. Yoichi Kitamura, who lead most of the defamation lawsuits in our memory in Japan, and you may be more familiar as a lawyer for Mr. Kelly in on-going Nissan case, has also joined the team.

Hearing the news about the court decision, I got a message from Dr.Tasuku Honjo, the Nobel Prize winner in Medicine for establishing a cancer immuno-therapy in 2018.

He said, “It is important to be patient until you accomplish it.”

Embracing his words, I will keep on doing my best.

Riko Muranaka


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