Japan Govt Ordered to Pay Damages to Relatives of Ex-Leprosy Patients

Society Lifestyle

Kumamoto, June 28 (Jiji Press)--In a landmark ruling, Kumamoto District Court ordered the Japanese government on Friday to pay compensation to relatives of former leprosy patients for the damage they suffered from the state's past quarantine policy for the patients.

It is the first court ruling in Japan to recognize the damage inflicted on relatives of leprosy sufferers and order state compensation.

In the lawsuit, the 561 plaintiffs in their 20s to 90s from across Japan, who claim to have suffered discrimination and other damage due to the isolation policy, demanded an apology and compensation of 5.5 million yen per person from the government.

In 2001, the court in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, ruled the policy as unconstitutional, and state compensation was paid to former patients, but not to family members.

The plaintiffs claimed that the isolation policy caused prejudice against leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, and that they were subjected to discrimination in society for being related to leprosy sufferers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press