Japan Diet OKs Bill to Compensate Leprosy Patients' Relatives

Politics Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Nov. 15 (Jiji Press)--The Diet, Japan's parliament, on Friday enacted bills to compensate relatives of former leprosy patients and restore their honor damaged through discrimination.

The two bills, including one to pay up to 1.8 million yen in damages per head, were adopted unanimously at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber. The other one is for revising a law aimed at resolving leprosy-related issues.

Both will take effect soon. After that, the health ministry will accept applications for the compensation, with payments seen starting by the end of January next year.

The preamble of the compensation bill says the Diet and the government offer "deep apologies" with a feeling of repentance and remorse toward family members who suffered prejudice and discrimination under the country's past isolation policy for leprosy patients.

The maximum compensation is higher than the maximum of 1.3 million yen that the government was ordered to pay by Kumamoto District Court in June.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press