Punished for good

Published: Wednesday 31 October 2001

In a landmark judgement, a Japanese court has found a former top official in the health ministry guilty of supplying blood contaminated by HIV. The case is said to be significant by many experts as Japanese bureaucrats are rarely punished for inaction. The Tokyo district court handed down a one-year suspended sentence to Akihito Matsumura, head of the health ministry division that handled blood products from 1984 to 1986. More than 1,400 haemophilia patients were exposed to HIV in the 1980s as a result of Matsumura's failure to prevent the distribution of contaminated blood. More than 500 of those patients have died till now.

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