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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 April 27 - May 10  > JCP Miyamoto attends online meeting held jointly by Japanese and Korean families of ex-leprosy patients
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2022 April 27 - May 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Miyamoto attends online meeting held jointly by Japanese and Korean families of ex-leprosy patients

April 27, 2022

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Miyamoto Toru on April 26 attended an online meeting held jointly by Japanese and Korean family members of former Hansen's disease patients.

Just a year ago, Korean families of ex-leprosy patients who had suffered discrimination and prejudice due to the isolation policy under prewar/wartime Japan's colonial rule claimed compensation from the Japanese government based on the Act on Payments of Compensation for Family Members of Former Hansen's Disease Patients. The compensation law includes in its coverage spouses, parents, children, and spouses’ parents and children of former patients who resided in Japan's past colonies. However, the number of Korean families who filed the claim for compensation remains low (130), and Japan paid compensation to only ten family members so far.

Tokuda Yasuyuki, a co-chief of the lawyers' council for the Japanese plaintiffs, said, "It will be of great significance in settling various issues between the two countries if Japan helps victims recover from the damage caused by the wrongful policy under the rule of Japan."

A Korean man whose parents had been Hansen's disease patients said, "To prove the fact was very hard. It was like searching for a needle in the Pacific Ocean," and that the family had had to carefully hide their disease in order to protect the family from discrimination. He went on to say, "To require us 'to produce evidence' is the same as pouring salt on the wound." He said he hopes that the Japanese government will respond to his claim.

Hwang Gwang Nam, a deputy head of the group of plaintiffs, said, "If people find out about family members of leprosy patients, they will discriminate against the entire family. Many families fear this possibility." This is why not many Korean families apply for compensation, according to the deputy head. He then called for a society where such discrimination ends so that all victims can claim compensation from Japan.

Past related articles:
> Legislation to compensate for sufferings of kin to ex-Hansen’s disease patients enacted [November 16, 2019]
> Court rules that gov’t past policy of isolating Hansen’s disease patients cause damage to patients’ families [June 29, 2019]

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