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View Full Version : Japan's leper colonies



Maciamo
Mar 22, 2005, 21:53
The following article is one of the best summary of all what i dysfunctioning in the Japanese government. If you really want to know more details about all the wrongdoings of the Japanese politicians, administration and businesses (and vomit while reading) read this book (http://www.wa-pedia.com/shop/showproduct.php/product/1/sort/7/cat/all/page/1).

BBC News : Japan's schooling for scandal (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4358231.stm)


Many people in the developed world might associate leprosy and leper colonies with a by-gone era.
But a Japanese committee revealed earlier this month that Japan ran leper colonies until 1996, despite medical evidence that they were unnecessary.

It found that "patients were treated as objects for research", patients' babies were killed and dead babies and foetuses of sufferers were preserved in macabre collections.

The report certainly made shocking reading. But its revelations about the motivation for the policy were not so surprising to those familiar with Japanese bureaucracy, pointing as it did to the cosy relationships between politicians, bureaucrats and business.
...
Takesato Watanabe, a media ethics professor, said: "The medical lobby has a powerful influence on the government. They're big donors and so they get laws passed that are favourable to them."
...
And Japan's leprosy policy followed a long string of health-related scandals over the years.

One of the most notorious dated back to the 1980s, when more than 1,400 Japanese haemophiliacs were exposed to HIV as a result of the Japanese Health Ministry's failure to ban unheated blood products, despite knowing they risked being tainted.
...
More recently, food companies repackaged imported beef as Japanese beef to claim government compensation in the wake of a mad cow disease scare, and last summer Japan Dental Association (JDA) members were charged with bribing senior politicians while the government was reviewing medical fees.

"There isn't a history in Japan of taking doctors to account," said Derrick Buddles, a manager at medical-device manufacturer Stryker in Tokyo.
...
The health ministry is not the only sector to be beset by scandal. Many areas of Japan's administration, from the banking sector to its nuclear industry, have been tainted over the years.
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"The mass media were impotent in providing relief to the hidden human rights violations," said the leprosy council's report into the defunct quarantine policy.

The problem is that Japan's press, while nominally free, is constricted by the complex environment in which it operates.
...
The collusion between Japan's powerful troika of politicians, business and bureaucrats both undermines the media's effectiveness and creates a system which breeds the scandals it should be uncovering.

Unless that atmosphere changes, Japan's leprosy scandal is unlikely to be its last.