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Home > Outline of Japan's Industrial Pollution Abatement > Approaches to Water Pollution Control (Case Study-2) Minamata City, Kumamoto Prefecture > (3) Compensation of Minamata Disease Patients

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Update:April 1, 2010

(3) Compensation of Minamata Disease Patients

3.Public Health Protection

In 1969, the Law concerning Special Measures for the Relief of the Pollution-related patients that specifies the allowance of medical cost and other miscellaneous expenses necessary for hospitalization was put into effect. This covers Minamata Disease in both Kumamoto prefecture and Niigata Prefecture. In 1974, the Pollution-related Health Damage Compensation Law which guarantees pollution-related patients not only medical expenses but their missed incomes according to the civil liability for reparation was passed. By the law, the medical treatment and its costs, disability benefits and survivors pension were secured for the patients.
In Kumamoto prefecture, the applicants who desire official recognition of the disease are screened by medical examinations according to the Pollution- related Health Damage Compensation Law. They were then certified as pollution- related patients if they are approved by the prefectural governor on the basis of the report of the Pollution Victims Certification Commission consisting of medical experts. For certified patients, Chisso pays compensation as specified in the compensation contract (See Figure 3-7).
Certified patients include not only those who qualified the diagnostic criteria for the distinction from other illness but potential invalids (The number of officially-recognized patients in Kumamoto prefecture was 1,768 as of the end of March 1993). Since an enormous number of applicants are on the waiting list and some of them cannot be easily evaluated in medical terms, the applicants sometimes must wait for a long time until they get the answer. Thus, in principle, the medical expenses for those patients who has been waiting for more than one year since they applied are borne by the national or prefectural government.