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Environment Min. Meets Again with Minamata Disease Sufferers

Environment Min. Meets Again with Minamata Disease Sufferers

   Minamata, Kumamoto Pref., July 8 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Environment Minister Shintaro Ito on Monday met again with Minamata disease sufferers after the microphone was abruptly switched off at a previous meeting while such people were speaking.
   "I apologize again. We will give assistance to the fullest extent possible," Ito said at Monday's meeting in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, with six groups of sufferers of the neurological disorder caused by polluted industrial wastewater.
   Ito responded to a joint request from the groups for a review of the scheme for recognizing Minamata disease patients and for appropriate health surveys. He said he aims to start within two years a health survey on the effects of methylmercury exposure on residents.
   Regarding the patient recognition system, Ito said only that "prefectures, cities and others carrying out the recognition work examine each applicant comprehensively based on the pollution-related health damage compensation law."
   The groups criticized the response, saying that it does not meet their demands and that the word "comprehensive" was used to ignore sufferers' concerns.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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