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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8  >  Ruling bloc makes public outline of bill to provide drug-induced hepatitis C victims with uniform relief
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2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Ruling bloc makes public outline of bill to provide drug-induced hepatitis C victims with uniform relief

December 29, 2007
At a press conference on December 28, the ruling bloc’s project team on the hepatitis issue made public an outline of a Dietmember-drafted bill to provide drug-induced hepatitis C victims with uniform relief.

The proposal in its preamble stated, “The government should admit its responsibility for the great suffering of victims infected with hepatitis C and for the failure to prevent the spread of the suffering and sincerely apologize to the victims.”

All patients infected with hepatitis C virus through tainted-blood products, including cured patients, and their heirs will be eligible to receive lump sum payments, and courts will determine the beneficiaries.

The proposal also requires the government to make efforts in promoting research and development and building a medical system to combat the disease so that the sufferers can live without anxieties.

At the press conference, Suzuki Toshihiro, representative of the plaintiffs’ legal team in the drug-induced hepatitis C lawsuits, welcomed the ruling bloc’s proposal and called for further support from the public, saying, “The enactment of the bill won’t solve all problems.”

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on the same day made the following comment:

The ruling parties presented an outline of a bill to provide blanket relief. The plaintiffs’ legal team reportedly expressed their intention to accept it.

The JCP regards the proposal as adequate because it clearly states that the government will provide uniform relief to all victims, that the state will assume its “responsibility for the outbreak as well as for the spread” of the infection, and that the judiciary, not the administration, will determine who are entitled to the relief measures. Furthermore it proposed that a permanent law be enacted.

What has achieved such a drastic change in the government position is the plaintiffs’ continued struggle at the risk of their lives. I express my appreciation for their efforts and my heartfelt respect for them. The JCP will make efforts to enact the bill at the earliest possible time and to ensure the implementation of the relief measures.

The JCP will also work actively for an enactment of a basic law to deal with the whole issue of the hepatitis infection.
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