Japan Govt. Issues Statement On Leprosy Policy

Japan govt. issues statement on leprosy policy

The Japanese government has adopted a statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe related to a policy over Hansen's disease, following a court ruling that families had suffered damage from discrimination.

Last month, a court in southwestern Japan ordered the government to pay damages to about 500 plaintiffs whose family members were sent to isolation facilities for leprosy patients. Abe decided earlier this week that the government won't appeal the ruling.

The Cabinet adopted the prime minister's statement on Friday. It says the family members were subject to severe prejudice and discrimination. It says the government deeply apologizes to the former patients and their families for their pain, and that Abe plans to meet with the families and convey his remorse.

The statement also says the government will quickly pay damages to the plaintiffs in line with the ruling, as well as study a new system to compensate families of former leprosy patients, including those who did not participate in the lawsuit. It adds that relevant ministries will step up efforts to promote education on human rights.