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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 April 17 - 23  > Niigata district court orders chemical company to pay compensation to Minamata-disease patients
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2024 April 17 - 23 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Niigata district court orders chemical company to pay compensation to Minamata-disease patients

April 19, 2024

The Niigata District Court on April 18 ordered the formerly named Showa Denko K.K. (now Resonac Holdings Corporation) to pay a total of 140 million yen in compensation to the plaintiffs who are Minamata-disease patients.

Forty-seven patients with the mercury-induced disease, who were not covered by the 2009 “special measures law on relief for Minamata-disease victims,” were claiming compensation in court against the state government and the company responsible for the disease.

The court recognized 26 of the 47 plaintiffs as having Minamata disease, ruling that their “right to claim compensation has not been extinguished,” and ordered the formerly named Showa Denko to pay four million yen per person in compensation. However, it did not find the government responsible.

After the court ruling, the plaintiffs and their lawyers held a rally in Niigata City.

The head of the plaintiffs’ group, Minagawa Eiichi said, “I’m frustrated that the court recognized only 26 of us as Minamata-disease victims and hasn’t acknowledged the government’s responsibility.”

Lawyer Ajioka Shinsai said, “Nevertheless, it is important that the ruling has condemned the government for having left Minamata-disease victims without relief.” He pointed out that there are still many Minamata-disease victims who have not been helped, adding, “We will use this ruling as a precedent to create a new system that will provide relief to all victims.”

Past related article:
> JCP Chair Tamura talks with Minamata Disease lawsuit plaintiffs’ legal team [March 27, 2024]
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