Health & Chemicals

Minamata Disease The History and Measures - Chapter 5

5. Measures against Minamata Disease

(1) The final plan for settlement by three ruling coalition parties

The issues of compensation to the patients certified based on the Compensation Law were settled by the Compensation Agreement in 1973. However, there have been administrative and administrative litigation appeals against rejections of the applications for Minamata Disease certification, and there have been damage suits and direct negotiations conducted mainly by those who were rejected the certification. These issues are remained unsettled.
In the situation, three ruling coalition parties (Liberal Democratic Party, Socialist Party (now, Social Democratic Party) and New Party Sakigake) submitted the final plan for settlement for Minamata Disease issues related to Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefecture in response to the opinion of the parties concerned in September 1995. All the parties concerned declared to accept the settlement by December 1995.
As for Minamata Disease issues related to Niigata Prefecture, the agreement based on the final plan for settlement by three ruling coalition parties was concluded through direct negotiation between patients' group and Showa Denko Co., Ltd.

(2) utline of the settlement

The agreement between the parties concerned related to Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefecture

In the final plan for settlement by three ruling coalition parties, all sorts of conflicts related to Minamata Disease should be settled immediately, finally, and totally under the framework; [1]the company pays a lump sum (2.6 million yen per capita) to people who should be relieved, [2]the Nation and Kumamoto Prefecture express some responsible attitude, for example regret, at the final and total settlement of Minamata Disease issues, [3]people who will be relieved conclude the conflicts, for example by withdrawing the suits. And also, at the conclusion of the conflicts, the Nation and the Prefecture should continue the Task of Medicine of the Comprehensive Measures for Minamata Disease and resume to accept applications, and should take measures to support Chisso Co., Ltd., and to recover and promote the region.

The agreement between the parties concerned related to Niigata Prefecture

The framework of the agreement between the parties concerned related to Niigata Prefecture is almost the same as the final plan for settlement related to Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefecture; the company pays a lump sum to people who should be relieved, the Nation and the Prefecture continue the Task of Medicine of the Comprehensive Measures for Minamata Disease and resume to accept applications, people who will be relieved conclude the conflicts, for example by withdrawing the suits. In addition, it was agreed through direct negotiation between patients' group and the company that the company should donate 250 million yen to Niigata Prefecture to recover and promote the region.

(3) The agreement in the Cabinet meeting, etc.

Based on the above-mentioned agreement between the parties concerned, in order to take measures promptly for final and total settlement of Minamata Disease issues as the Nation, the Government held the meeting of the members of the Cabinet concerned for the Minamata Disease in December 1995, and made the arrangement with "On the Measures against Minamata Disease", whose content was to resume to accept applications of the Task of Medicine of the Comprehensive Measures for Minamata Disease and to forward and support the measures to recover and promote the region. And on the same day, it made the agreement of the Cabinet meeting about it, etc., and also made the decision of the Cabinet meeting for "Prime Minister's Announcement for the settlement of Minamata Disease issues". The Government implemented these measures.

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