Govt Urged to Do More to Fight Discrimination over Leprosy

Politics Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Nov. 26 (Jiji Press)--Relatives of former leprosy patients, at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, called on the government to continue efforts to combat discrimination after the recent enactment of a law for compensation.

They expressed gratitude for the enactment of the law to provide up to 1.8 million yen in compensation per person to relatives of former patients.

The lawmaker-initiated legislation was established after Kumamoto District Court in southwestern Japan, in a landmark ruling in June, ordered the state to pay compensation to relatives of former leprosy patients, recognizing that the government's quarantine policy for the patients caused discrimination against the family members as well. The government did not appeal against the ruling.

The enactment came as "a result of the government recognizing the hardships that the families of leprosy patients suffered," Hwang Gwang-nam, the 64-year-old deputy leader of the group of plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said at the meeting with Abe, held at the prime minister's office in Tokyo.

Referring to an acquaintance living in Osaka, western Japan, who has still been unable to tell a son that the person was a patient for fear of discrimination, Hwang said, "The government needs to continue showing a stance of supporting those" who are living with the history of their disease.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press