In issuing their ruling Friday, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office said the reporters from the Asashi Shimbun and Kyodo News engaged in illicit activity with the intent of covering the story and have since reflected on their actions, The Mainichi reported.
"At this point, the reporters are reflecting on their actions," said one public prosecutor.
The three Asahi and two Kyodo reporters were accused of using a password received in an email from an address, which was suspected of being used to threaten attacks on a Tokyo kindergarten and other facilities, to gain access to the sender's server between October and November last year.
Japan's Unauthorized Access Prohibition Act prohibits the use of another person's ID and password to access a computer server without the person's permission.
However, Kikuma Morikita from Asahi Shimbun Co.'s Tokyo office said the reporters were checking the email address owner's computer to determine whether they were actually responsible for sending the threats. Masao Ishigame of Kyodo News agreed, saying reporters' actions constituted news coverage activities in pursuit of the truth.
Meanwhile, Yusuke Katayama, a 31-year-old former IT company employee, has been charged in connection with the online threats. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.
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