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Monday, 3rd March 2008
In General Japan News,

Minamata patients call for 'understanding'

A number of sufferers of Minamata disease in Japan have embarked upon a new appeal for public understanding about their condition.

The new appeal has been launched in an effort to secure relief from the government for sufferers of the condition, caused as a consequence of severe mercury poisoning, reports Kyodo News.

Sufferers of the disease, including the foetuses of unborn children, contracted the disease from mercury poisoning - caused by the actions of the chemical manufacturer Chisso Corporation and the subsequent contamination of Minamata Bay.

"I hope those in the administration and in Chisso Corporation will not forget that there are people who are still suffering from Minamata disease and those who are involved in lawsuits [to seek compensation]," said Kenji Nagamoto, a sufferer of the condition.

Mr Nagamoto made his comments at a recent public forum in Tokyo.

Also known as Chisso-Minamata disease, the condition can produce a number of different symptoms, including insanity, coma and muscular weakness.