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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 29 - June 4  > Record found indicating Minamata disease also affected people outside Kumamoto
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2013 May 29 - June 4 [WELFARE]

Record found indicating Minamata disease also affected people outside Kumamoto

May 29, 2013
In Kagoshima’s town, which is outside of the national government’s designated area eligible for Minamata disease compensation, residents have found records indicating that mercury-contaminated fish were sold and consumed locally in the 1950s.

Minamata disease was caused by organic mercury in wastewater discharged from the Chisso Corporation factory into Minamata Bay in Kumamoto Prefecture in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Fuke district of Isa City in Kagoshima, which neighbors Minamata City, was not designated as an area where Minamata disease patients can receive compensation from the national government, although many residents have been suffering from symptoms similar to that of the pollution-related illness.

The obtained record is data included in a paper about diet in northern Kagoshima written by a vocational school student in 1973. She wrote that in 1956 and 1957, traders made two trips a day between Minamata Bay and the Fuke district in order to exchange rice and fresh fish caught in the bay.

Another record, written by her mother who lived close to the Fuke district, was a list of the Mimamata fish she bought from the peddlers or exchanged with rice in 1955 and 1956.

The writer of the paper, now in her 70s, turned over the records to a local Minamata disease patients’ group after finding out that the prefectural government was looking for evidence that local residents used to eat the contaminated fish.

The patients’ group on May 27 submitted the record to the prefectural government and demanded that the local administration make use of it in order to help all the local patients receive compensation for their suffering.

Prefectural and city assembly members of the Japanese Communist Party accompanied their representation to the prefectural government office.

Past related articles:
> Court’s designation of woman as Minamata disease patient finalized (May 3, 2013)
> Minamata disease victims call for relief without time limitation to submit application (July 4-6, 2012)
> Don’t abandon Minamata disease sufferers: JCP Ichida (April 12 & 17, 2012)
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