Journalist Claims Broadcast of National Geographic Show on Japanese Gangsters Endangers His Life

Saturday, May 07, 2011
Jake Adelstein (photo: Ayano Sato)
Journalist Jake Adelstein is suing National Geographic Television to stop it from airing a semi-documentary on the Japanese mafia that he says might get him killed. Adelstein, the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, was hired by the network to be an expert consultant on the project, which was originally supposed to be a documentary, but was changed to a docudrama.
Adelstein says that he advised the company to exclude interviews with certain members of the Yakuza who have threatened the reporter’s life. He claims National Geographic Television ignored his wishes and plans to televise what Adelstein says is a “factually inaccurate or sensationalist” docudrama. His lawsuit says the network is in violation of breach of contract, interference and infliction of emotional distress.
The show, “Gangland Tokyo,” an episode of National Geographic’s “Explorer” series, is scheduled to air May 10.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Joshua Lawrence Adelstein v. National Geographic Television (District of Columbia Superior Court) (pdf)


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