The Yomiuri Shimbun Wins Newspaper Association Award for Investigative Reporting on Overseas Organ Trafficking

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Front page headlines of The Yomiuri Shimbun describe overseas organ trafficking.

The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association announced Wednesday that The Yomiuri Shimbun won an award for breaking the story of organ trafficking overseas. The Yomiuri Shimbun’s report team on the issue is one of the five recipients of the annual award that honors remarkable newspaper reports.

It was first scooped in The Yomiuri Shimbun’s morning edition on Aug. 7 last year that a Ukrainian woman received nearly $15,000 from a liaison for providing a kidney in Kyrgyzstan, which was mediated by a nonprofit organization.

The report became instrumental in the Metropolitan Police Agency cracking down on the NPO on suspicion of violating the Organ Transplant Law by mediating the transplant without permission. The report also led to measures aiming to solve the shortage of organ donors in Japan.

“This is investigative reporting that used the power of group journalism to shed light on the reality of organ trafficking, which had been shrouded in darkness,” the association said in its reasons for awarding a prize to The Yomiuri Shimbun. “The report led to building of the first criminal case of overseas organ transplant in Japan and instigated government action to reinforce laws and regulations on the matter.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun has won the award for two consecutive years. Last year, the newspaper won the award for breaking the story of corruption involving the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.