Japan's health and welfare ministry will begin accepting applications from Friday for relief payments to families of former leprosy patients. The medical condition is also known as Hansen's disease.
On November 15, Japan's Diet enacted a law that offers compensation to them for the many years of discrimination they've endured.
The law acknowledges that both former leprosy patients and their families suffered discrimination due to the government's mistaken segregation policy for the disease.
The law requires the government to pay compensation, and its preamble states that the Diet and government offer deep apologies to the families.
The ministry will also set up a telephone consultation service for applying. The requesting method can also be confirmed on the ministry's website.
About 20,000 to 30,000 people are expected to be eligible for compensation. Spouses, parents, and children of former patients will be offered a lump sum of 1.8 million yen, or about 16,600 dollars. Siblings and other relatives who lived with the patients will be granted about 12,000 dollars.
The deadline for lodging the claim is five years. Payments are expected to start as early as January of next year.