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The Fortnight

JAPAN

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Mar 31, 1996 | From the print edition

Horrifying details
about the health ministry's
negligence and connivance
in spreading the Hiv among
nearly 2,000 haemophiliacs
in the country, have come
to light after more than
a decade.

The revelations came
after Naoto Kan, Japan's
health and welfare minister
and also . an AIDS-issues
activist, ordered a probe.
Kan later apologised to the
nation's haemophiliacs, who
were infected with Hiv
after using. contaminated
blood products. About
400 haemophiliacs have
died Of AIDS. Most Of the
victims contracted the virus
between July 1983 and July
1985, when the health ministry reverted its decision to
use blood products that were
heated to destroy the HIV. I
The disclosure is likely to end
a long-drawn law-suit, filed
by around 200 Hiv-affected
haemophiliacs against the
government and five drug
companies involved in
the distribution of blood
products.

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