These children were born with severe deformities including gnarled limbs, mental retardation, deafness, and blindness. When mercury is dumped into water, the bacteria in the water convert it into organic mercury. doi:10.1007/978-81-322-1922-4_25, The Minamata Disaster and the Disease That Followed, Ⓒ 2021 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. The fish-based diets of the people and cats of Minamata seemed to be the common thread between those showing symptoms, leading scientists to suspect the fish in Minamata Bay were being poisoned.​, A large petrochemical plant in Minamata, run by Chisso Corporation, was suspected immediately. Disclaimer: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and its collaborative partners take no position on the diverse views presented in linked material within the database, nor can we guarantee the factual accuracy of all the articles and reports we make available. What is Minamata Disease? The Chisso Corporation (チッソ株式会社, Chisso kabushiki kaisha), since 2012 reorganized as JNC (Japan New Chisso), is a Japanese chemical company. The corporation denied responsibility and continued to pollute waterways for three decades. Years later it was discovered that a nearby plant owned by the Chisso Corporation has been dumping dangerous chemicals into the water near Minamata which affected the fish and everyone who ate the fish. Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome sometimes known as Chisso-Minamata disease. Minamata disease was first discovered in Minamata city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, in 1956. Over time the corporation chose to branch out and began producing other chemicals such as acetylene, acetic acid, vinyl chloride and octanol. After 22 years, the plaintiffs achieved their goal of making those responsible for Japan's worst case of industrial pollution pay for their negligence. Counteraction and unconcern VII. 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More than 50,000 people applied for this compensation, showing how, over five decades later, the effects of this disaster are still felt. This section contains a selection of key portals curated by our global team. The Court found that the plaintiffs were entitled to receive compensation for the damage they suffered. The Japan Times. And, like the cats, some people seemed to be going crazy, shouting uncontrollably. Not knowing the cause of the disease at first, it became known as Minamata disease. pp. As the number of victims continued to increase, the Japanese Government adopted a certification process whereby people were officially certified as suffering from Minamata disease based on a characteristic combination of symptoms. Measures against Minamata Disease (1)Measures against environmental pollution (2) Relief of Minamata Disease patients (3) Environmental health measures for inhabitants (4) Financial assistance to the responsible company (5) Promotion of research and investigation; 5. In the mid-1950s, the people of Minamata, Japan began to notice their cats were going crazy and falling into the sea. Minamata, review: Johnny Depp misses a trick with this tale of corporate malfeasance ... effects of mercury poisoning because of heavy metal dumping by the Chisso Corporation. It was caused by the release of the industrial byproduct methylmercury by the Chisso Corporation in the Minamata Bay. Symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. Chisso denied the allegations and continued its manufacturing without changing its method of production. Between 1938 and 1968, the wastewater from Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory in the Kumamoto district of Japan flowed into Minamata Bay. JMAJ, March 2006 窶・Vol. The culprit was the Chisso Corporation factory, the foundation of the town's economy, … Nabi, Shabnum (2014). 1096664 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in USA. For decades, Japan’s Chisso Corporation dumped methylmercury and other heavy metals into wastewater that exited into Minamata Bay, a by-product of their chemical manufacturing. It was caused by the release of methylmercury in the industrial wastewater from the Chisso Corporation's chemical factory, which continued from 1932 to 1968. The trial lasted almost four years. Read our, Medically reviewed by Jonathan B. Jassey, DO, Medically reviewed by Sumaya Ibraheem, DDS, Verywell Health uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our, Fish and Gout: What to Eat, What to Avoid, How Eating Fish Can Help Reduce Your Stroke Risk, Keep Your Family Safe From These High Risk Foods, What a Simple Self-Evaluation Can Tell You About Your COPD, How to Get a Hardship Exemption from Health Insurance Mandate, Difference Between Universal Coverage and a Single-Payer System, Study: Fish Oil Doesn't Reduce Cardiac Events, Data and Safety Monitoring Boards: The Safeguards Behind COVID-19 Vaccines. In 1956, the first human patient of what soon became known as Minamata disease was identified. The plaintiffs appealed this decision in Osaka High Court which overturned the lower court’s decision and found that the defendants had failed to exercise their regulatory authority as required by water quality legislation and the Fisheries Coordination Regulation of Kumamoto prefecture. Established in 1988 by Soshisha, the Minamata Disease Museum embraces the role of handing down the complex heritage left by Minamata Disease. The disease was first discovered in 1956 in Minamata, in the Kumamoto prefecture of Japan. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses. 3113. Symptoms included convulsions, slurred speech, loss of motor functions and uncontrollable limb movements. Starting in the early 1950s, many residents of Minamata-town in Kyushu developed mercury poisoning. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. The fishermen of Minamata began protesting Chisso Corporation in 1959. The Osaka District Court in July 1994 ruled that neither the government nor the prefecture was responsible for the damage to the victims. "Methylmercury and Minamata Disease". Some people thought the cats were committing suicide. On 31 March 2014, the Kumamoto District Court ordered the state, the Kumamoto Prefectural Government and Chisso to pay ¥106 million in damages to three uncertified sufferers who sued them. He is an attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York and also works at an urgent care center and a telemedicine company that provides care to patients across the country. Explore the big challenges, opportunities, debates and frameworks for business and human rights. Symptoms of the disease include seizures, spasms, loss of motor control, numbness, paralysis, sensory impairment and, in extreme cases, death. The disease shows a variety of clinical symptoms depending on the exposure level to the chemical.2Severe. On October 16, 2004, the Supreme Court of Japan ordered the government to pay 71.5 million yen ($703,000) in damages to the Minamata disease victims. Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification: Minamata Disease History of Minamata Disease. More than 1,000 sufferers of Minamata disease have died. Find out more about our impact, who we are and how we are funded. Chisso finally quit poisoning Minimata's waters in 1968. The appearance of such links does not constitute endorsement of the websites they lead to or the information contained therein, over which we exercise no editorial control. In 1956, a doctor at Chisso’s factory reported increased cases of individuals with nervous system damage, officially recognising the existence of what came to be known as Minamata disease. - “Relief for unrecognized Minamata victims OK'd”, Yomiuri Shimbun, 16 Apr 2010- “Japan to Compensate More Victims of Mercury Disaster”, AFP, 3 Jul 2009- “Court orders damages paid to Japan poisoning victims”, Kozo Mizoguchi, Associated Press, 16 Oct 2004- “Victims Not Ready to Close Books on Minamata Saga”, Sonni Effron, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug 1997- “JAPAN - Victims of Mercury Poisoning Settle”, Los Angeles Times, 23 May 1996- “Japan Mercury Victims Get Court Award”, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov 1993- “30 Years after Mercury Poisoning at Minamata - Ecological Disaster at Japan Village Leaves Legacy of Suffering”, Michael Weisskoff, Washington Post, 10 May 1987, - Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan: Minamata Disease - The History and Measures, 2002- Soshisha (the Supporting Center for Minamata Disease): Brief Chronology of the Minamata Disease Incident and Activities of the Soshisha, - Xs V Japan & Kumamoto Prefecture, Supreme Court of Japan, 15 Oct 2004, Events | Jobs | Media | Data Usage & Cookies | Contact Us. In that case, the defendants denied liability for the allegations that the plaintiffs had contracted Minamata disease due to mercury intake. However, even after official acknowledgement of the disease in 1956, Chisso Corporation continued unconscionable manufacturing of acetaldehyde for 12 more years. Many people felt this was their only chance of receiving any compensation, and signed the papers. They demanded Chisso quit dumping toxic waste and compensate them for their illnesses. Chisso, in turn, tried to make deals with people affected by mercury poisoning using legal documents that stated it would compensate individuals for their illnesses but would accept no present or future liability. Minamata disease is a neurological disorder caused by severe mercury poisoning. The discovery of Minamata disease and the difficulty in determining its cause V. Social trauma and the fishermen's riot VI. Symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. According to the Japanese government, 2,955 people contracted Minamata disease and 1,784 people have since died. This decision was appealed by the defendants to the Supreme Court which in October 2004 upheld the decision of the High Court. In 2010, Chisso was ordered to pay 2.1 million yen and monthly medical allowances to those not originally certified by the government as having the condition. Chapter - 4 Minamata disease. Minamata Disease Protest. In 1956, a doctor at Chisso’s factory reported increased cases of individuals with nervous system damage, officially recognising the existence of what came to be known as Minamata disease. This highly toxic chemical bioaccumulated in shellfish and fish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea, which, when eaten by the local populace, … It started with the town cats. Chisso will pay ¥3.15 billion to three organizations of the uncertified disease sufferers who have not joined a lawsuit. Researchers believe, however, that the criteria the government uses to diagnose Minamata disease are too strict, and that anyone showing any level of sensory impairment should be considered a victim. This unknown illness was called the 'strange disease' by the local community, and on May 28 the Minamata Strange Disease Action Committee (formed by the Minamata Health Center, Minamata City, the City Medical Association, the Municipal Hospital, and the Chisso Hospital) was established. The faces of Shiranui sea and of those living along its shores were irreporably changed by the recklessness of Japanese economy lead by … La malattia di Minamata (水俣病 Minamata-byō? In 1995, the Japanese Government proposed a settlement plan to those who had not been certified with Minamata disease in exchange for them dropping all related litigation. Alongside its core work providing a platform for Human Rights advocates, the Resource Centre runs several focused programme areas and regularly releases briefings and reports on areas of particular interest. The people of Minamata reported numbness in their limbs and lips. Mercury-containing industrial waste from the Chisso Corporation's chemical factory continued to be dumped in Minamata Bay up to 1968. Symptoms of the disease include seizures, spasms, loss of motor control, numbness, paralysis, sensory impairment and, in extreme cases, death. As part of its normal operations, the Chisso Corporation dumped waste products into Minamata Bay. Something was affecting their nervous system. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. The Nippon Chisso Company: Beginnings II. Minamata is a small fishing town on the coast of the Shiranui Sea. 49, No. Engaged in development of liquid crystals, electronic components, silicon products, textile products, aroma chemicals, cosmetics, fertilizers, agricultural goods and materials, pharmaceutical materials, etc.Contributing to the development of the chemical industry. Methyl mercury readily crosses the placenta from mother to fetus and is damaging, particularly to the developing brain. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Registered Charity in England & Wales no. The disease was caused by mercury poisoning occurring through the food chain; fish in the bay contained concentrated mercury toxins and when caught and consumed, the toxins were assimilated into the bodies of the people who ate them. Minamata victims launched numerous legal actions against Chisso Corporation, the Japanese Government and Kumamoto prefecture. On May 1, 1956, a doctor in Japan reported an "epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system," marking the official discovery of Minamata disease. The Minamata Disease Kansai Patients Association refused to drop their case. Official site of Chisso Corporation. In 1979, they were sentenced to two years in prison; these decisions were upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court. A former president of Chisso and a supervisor of the Minamata factory faced criminal proceedings in 1979 for causing death and serious bodily harm. Minamata disease, sometimes referred to as Chisso-Minamata disease, is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Chisso continued to deny its involvement or that its mercury waste was causing any illness. Springer, New Delhi. The beginnings of the carbide organic chemical complex III. In the late 1950s Minamata Bay, Japan became contaminated with mercury from a nearby factory manufacturing the chemical acetaldehyde (Chisso Corporation's chemical waste pipe). To date, Chisso has financially compensated over 10,000 people and continues to be involved in suits regarding the matter. Minamata disease was caused by industrial pollution more than 60 years ago. Minamata Disease is a myriad of neurological and neurodevelopmental symptoms stemming from the pollution of Minamata Bay, Japan with 27 tons of organic mercury by the Chisso Corporation. As the mercury dumping continued, poisoned women gave birth to poisoned babies. In April 2001, the Osaka High Court determined that the government's Health and Welfare Ministry should have begun taking regulatory action to stop the poisoning at the end of 1959 after researchers concluded that Minamata disease was caused by mercury poisoning. In April 2010, the Japanese government approved a measure to provide compensation to uncertified sufferers of Minamata disease. They demanded Chisso quit dumping toxic waste and compensate them for their illnesses. (It was later discovered that Chisso Corporation had dumped an estimated 27 tons of mercury compounds into Minamata Bay.). Official site of Chisso Corporation. Chisso, in turn, tried to make deals with people affected by mercury poisoning using legal documents that stated it would compensate individuals for their illnesses but would accept no present or future liability. The cause of Minamata disease—a fatal illness that attacks the nervous system—was first pinpointed in 1957 as organic mercury poisoning from effluent released by the Chisso Corp., a chemical manufacturer and the largest employer in the Japanese city for which the disease was named. Children born with Minamata disease can have growth deficiency, microcephaly (an abnormally small head ), severe mental retardation and be deaf and blind. ), a volte chiamata sindrome di Minamata o malattia di Chisso-Minamata (チッソ水俣病 Chisso-Minamata-byō? Minamata … Unrecognized Minamata victims settle damages suit with Chisso Read more A group of unrecognized victims of Minamata disease reached an out-of-court settlement Friday with Chisso…the chemical maker responsible for causing the mercury-poisoning disease, over a … The fishermen of Minamata began protesting Chisso Corporation in 1959. In October 1982, 40 plaintiffs filed suit against the Japanese government, saying it had failed to stop Chisso from polluting the environment and had actually looked the other way while Chisso violated pollution laws. Michael Menna, DO, is board-certified in emergency medicine. Engaged in development of liquid crystals, electronic components, silicon products, textile products, aroma chemicals, cosmetics, fertilizers, agricultural goods and materials, pharmaceutical materials, etc.Introduction of field of chisso, history, responsible care ,organization chart the company profile and member companies . The disease was first discovered in Minamata city, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 1956. But how were all of these people (and cats) being poisoned? The disease was caused by the dumping of mercury into Minamata Bay by the Chisso Corporation. Recovering from the defeat of the Second World War IV. This measure will allow for a lump sum payment to these uncertified sufferers who have not joined a lawsuit against the government or Chisso. Many victims accepted this settlement. The Court found that by November 1959, three years had already passed since the official discovery of Minamata disease and despite this development, the authorities had not prevented the residents from consuming contaminated fish and shellfish from the bay. The court ultimately ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and ordered Chisso to pay compensation to the victims. A brief history of the horror of the Minamata Disease Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. The disease was seen in cats, and in people all around the village with the most severe cases happening in children and the elderly. One of the waste products of acetaldehyde production is the toxic heavy metal mercury. Minamata disease (水俣病 Minamata-byō), sometimes referred to as Chisso-Minamata disease (チッソ水俣病 Chisso-Minamata-byō), is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. The disease was caused when methylmercury from the chemical factory of Chisso Corporation was released into the industrial wastewater. Because of its location, townspeople eat a lot of fish. It is an important supplier of liquid crystal used for LCDs, but is best known for its role in the 34-year-long pollution of the water supply in Minamata, Japan that led to thousands of deaths and victims of disease. A group of Minamata victims filed a lawsuit in 1969 against Chisso alleging corporate negligence. In 1908 the Chisso Corporation, a major chemical manufacturer in Japan, opened a nitrogenous fertilizer factory in the small fishing town of Minamata (figure 1). Finally, in July 1959, researchers from Kumamoto University discovered the source of the illness—high levels of mercury poisoning—which they then named Minamata disease. I. Online ISSN : 1883-8995 Print ISSN : 0386-9113 ISSN-L : 0386-9113 Opinion pieces, interviews and blogs from across the business and human rights movement. The court also ordered Chisso to pay $2.18 million in damages to the plaintiffs. This wastewater contained mercury. Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Today, the Minamata Disease problem remains unresolved. Some had difficulty hearing or seeing. Although the toxic sludge no longer poses a threat to the environment and its people today, the decades of suffrage the city went through, including prejudice, insufficient compensation, and dissension, are still alive today. Mary Kugler, RN, is a pediatric nurse whose specialty is caring for children with long-term or severe medical problems. The Environment Minister bowed in apology to the plaintiffs. Toxic Effects of Mercury. Soon after, a strange illness appeared to be going around town. Minamata Disease is a toxic nervous disease caused by eating seafood contaminated with methylmercury compounds discharged from the Minamata plant (in Kumamoto Prefecture) of Shin-Nippon Chisso Hiryo K.K. Political Settlement of Minamata Disease … Mercury pact falls short on Minamata (2012). Minamata disease is a methylmercury poison- ing associated with the daily consumption of large quantities of ・《h and shell・《h heavily con- taminated with the toxic chemical. by Michael S. Yamashita. Kumamoto, Japan, Dist Ct on Mar 20 rules that major chem co is responsible for mercury poisoning of people in town of Minamata; orders Chisso Corp to … What Do I Need to Know About Health Insurance Changes for 2021. 187–199. Others developed shaking (tremors) in their arms and legs, difficulty walking, and even brain damage. (subsequently renamed "Chisso Corporation" at a later date, hereinafter referred to as "Chisso") or the Deadline reports that MGM has acquired the rights for the Johnny Depp drama “Minamata” – chronicling W. Eugene Smith’s last photo essay on the horrific mercury poisoning in Minamata, Japan. In 1982, the Association sued Chisso Corporation, the Japanese Government and Kumamoto prefecture demanding recognition as Minamata disease victims and compensation for the damages they suffered.