Press Release

Analysis of Mercury Concentration Found in Dead Japanese cranes

May 26, 2008

Ministry of the Environment has carried out an evaluation of the total mercury and methyl mercury concentration in certain organs of the 46 dead Japanese cranes recovered from FY 2006 to 2007, in order to detail the mercury deposit in their bodies.
While the mercury concentration was generally low in the forty-six, dead Japanese cranes, five of them had a relatively high total mercury concentration with much lower concentration of methyl mercury. The hypothesis for the low level methyl mercury comparing to that of total mercury is that there was a long period of elapsed time since the ingestion of contaminated materials. The source of such materials was not defined in the analysis.
A pathological change in the specimen's organs, caused by mercury, was also not identified. Therefore, it was concluded that there was no direct relation of Japanese cranes' death to environmental mercury deposit.
Detailed information on the result of the analysis is available at the official website of National Institute for Minamata Disease (

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