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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 26 - July 2  > Court rules that gov’t past policy of isolating Hansen’s disease patients cause damage to patients’ families
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2019 June 26 - July 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Court rules that gov’t past policy of isolating Hansen’s disease patients cause damage to patients’ families

June 29, 2019
The Kumamoto District Court on June 28 acknowledged that the government’s past policy of segregating Hansen’s disease patients caused damage to patients’ families and ordered the government to pay 376 million yen in compensation to the plaintiffs. This causal relationship was recognized for the first time in court.

The court battle was initiated by 561 people in their 20s, 30s, all the way up to their 90s whose parents or siblings were put in quarantine with Hansen’s disease under the former Leprosy Prevention Law. They claimed that because of the isolation policy, they suffered bullying and discrimination and many had to conceal their disease due to extreme prejudice, adding that some of them could not help but feel bitter toward their families. The plaintiffs demanded that the government offer an apology and 5.5 million yen to each of them as compensation.

The court ruling states that the government should be held responsible for causing damages to the patients’ families. It orders the government to pay 330,000-1.1 million yen to 541 plaintiffs, but turned down the demands of the remaining 20 plaintiffs.

Hayashi Chikara, who heads the plaintiffs’ group, said that he was encouraged by the ruling which acknowledges the state responsibility and that he will keep working to improve the human rights situation in Japan.

Past related articles:
> Families of ex-Hansen disease patients in court call for society free from discrimination and prejudice [February 19, 2016]
> Gov’t will cut benefits for wartime orphans and leprosy patients’ families [February 3, 2013]
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