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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 September 27 - October 3  > Minamata disease patients win in Osaka court
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2023 September 27 - October 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Minamata disease patients win in Osaka court

September 28, 2023
The Osaka District Court on September 27 recognized all 128 plaintiffs as patients with Minamata disease and ordered defendants (the central gov't, Kumamoto pref. gov't, and Chisso Corp.) to jointly pay a total of 352 million yen in compensation to the plaintiffs.

The victims won the case overall. It was the first ruling in the second round of "No More Minamatas" lawsuits being fought in Kumamoto, Tokyo and Niigata, in addition to Osaka, filed by about 1,760 victims.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariate Head Koike Akira on the same day issued a comment welcoming this ruling.

Koike in his comment showed his respect to the efforts the plaintiffs, lawyers, and supporters have made. He demanded that the defendants take the judgement seriously and promptly provide relief measures to the plaintiffs.

The 2009 "special measures law on relief for Minamata disease victims" covered only patients who lived more than one year in areas around Minamata Bay where Chisso's chemical factory discharged a large amount of polluted wastewater and people who were born before the end of November 1969.

Koike in his comment noted that the ruling criticized this criteria for qualification for having abandoned a lot of potential victims, and said, "The ruling calls on the central government to fundamentally revise the law." He demanded that the central government conduct a health survey of residents near Minamata Bay and near the coast of Shiranui Sea and implement relief measures for all the victims.

In concluding his comment, Koike expressed his determination, saying, "The JCP will continue to strive until all the victims become eligible for relief."
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