In 'rare' move, Abe says government won't appeal damages awarded to leprosy patients' kin
Japan Times -- Jul 10
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday that the government will not file an appeal against a recent court ruling in Kumamoto awarding damages to former leprosy patients’ kin.

“We have decided not to appeal,” Abe told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We must not prolong the hardship of family members who have gone through something indescribable,” Abe said. “Though it’s a rare move, we’ve decided not to appeal against the ruling.”

In late June, the Kumamoto District Court ruled in favor of 541 plaintiffs, ordering the state to pay a total of about ¥370 million in damages. The government had until Friday to decide whether to appeal against the ruling, and the decision came ahead of the July 21 Upper House election.

There were voices within the administration in favor of an appeal, a source said. The latest decision was apparently motivated in part by the political calculation that an appeal would negatively impact the government’s electoral chances, observers say.

It was the first ruling awarding compensation to family members of patients who suffered discrimination in the form of isolation in sanatoriums under the government’s decadeslong segregation policy.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto said the government will soon start compiling redress measures for the families of the onetime patients.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is now curable.

News source: Japan Times
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