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1,000 Minamata disease patients demand state compensation

About 1,000 victims of Minamata disease and their legal team on June 11 met in Minamata City in Kumamoto Prefecture and decided to demand that all victims be recognized as Minamata disease patients in order to receive appropriate compensation from the government.

Oishi Toshio, a representative of the patients' group, expressed his determination, saying, "We must not allow the government to obscure its responsibility by settling the issue without recognizing us as Minamata disease patients! We want to prevent such a disastrous pollution incident from occurring again."

The participants unanimously confirmed a plan proposed by a chief lawyer of the legal team to settle the issue through legal means

Tamura Takaaki, Japanese Communist Party candidate for a House of Representatives proportional representation election in the Kyushu-Okinawa bloc, and a JCP Kumamoto Prefectural Assembly member were also present at the meeting.

Minamata disease was caused by mercury poisoning in waste water discharged from a Chisso Corp. plant into Minamata Bay during the 1950s and 60s. It has killed hundreds of people, disabled thousands, and caused many birth defects.
- Akahata, June 12, 2006

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