Past Special Court for Leper in Japan Found Unconstitutional

Society

Kumamoto, Feb. 26 (Jiji Press)--Kumamoto District Court on Wednesday acknowledged unconstitutionality in a 1950s trial of a man considered a leper held in a special court at isolated facilities.

Six former leprosy patients filed the lawsuit against the central government, demanding 100,000 yen each in compensation for the failure by prosecutors to seek a retrial over the case, known as the Kikuchi incident.

Presiding Judge Yuko Onodera said that the closed-door trial represented a "discrimination that lacked rationality." But Onodera rejected the plaintiffs' claim for compensation.

The ruling marked the first court judgment on the constitutionality of a special court set up in any of the past isolation facilities to accommodate leprosy patients.

In the Kikuchi incident, a resident of Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, was accused of murdering a municipal official in 1952. He was considered to be suffering from leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press