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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 10 - 16  > Gov’t decides not to appeal court order to pay damages to families of leprosy patients
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2019 July 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t decides not to appeal court order to pay damages to families of leprosy patients

July 10, 2019
The Abe government on July 9 announced that it will not appeal a Kumamoto District Court ruling that orders the government to pay damages to families of leprosy patients. The plaintiffs in court claimed that they suffered great hardships under the past government segregation policy.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira later on the day said to the press, “We have urged the government not to appeal the ruling. Pushed by public opinion and social movements, the government made the right decision.” He added that the JCP will continue to request the government to issue an official apology and sufficient compensation payments to all families of Hansen’s disease patients.

Following the Abe government’s announcement, the plaintiffs and their lawyers held a press conference in the Diet building. They shed tears of joy, gave hearty handshakes to their supporters, and hugged each other. Hayashi Chikara, who heads the plaintiffs’ group, commented on the government decision to accept the court ruling, and said, “I think the government did what it should do. I feel relieved.” He also said that the Japanese government had maintained a policy of isolating leprosy patients, which was unparalleled in the world, from the public for decades and that because of this policy, patients and their families experienced human rights violations and various forms of discrimination. Hayashi stressed that the government should make utmost efforts to wipe out the remaining prejudice and misunderstanding nurtured under the former policy.

Lawyer Tokuda Yasuyuki, co-head of the plaintiffs’ legal team, pointed out that the amounts of compensation the court ordered are not sufficient and vary between plaintiffs. He expressed his intent to address and discuss these points with the government.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers issued a statement stating that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo should hold face-to-face talks with the plaintiffs, issue an official apology, and establish a system to provide compensation to all the victims equally.

Past related articles:
> Court rules that gov’t past policy of isolating Hansen’s disease patients cause damage to patients’ families [June 29, 2019]
> Families of ex-Hansen disease patients in court call for society free from discrimination and prejudice [February 19, 2016]
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