Abe apologizes to families of former leprosy patients over discrimination


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Many patients had been isolated in sanatoriums under the decades-long government policy between 1907 and 1996, and their relatives faced discrimination.

Hang on, so Abe is apologising for something he, or the current government was not directly responsible for, and for a practice dating back over 100 years? I thought that idea was considered ridiculous here on JT?

Why don't the victims just let it go? Why sour the relations, why use it for a political reason, why bring up the past instead of moving forward etc etc?

"Abe's apology was a blessing," Hwang Gwang Nam, deputy head of the plaintiffs' group, told a press conference held at a parliamentary building after the meeting.

Deputy head of the plaintiff's group was Korean, so he must surely be motivated by some age old indoctrination/brainwashing anti-Japan agenda during his upbringing? Anybody?

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Good for Abe.

The patients are grateful for the sincere apology.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Heckleberry - Why don't the victims just let it go?

Because Japan was still separating leprosy patients in the 70's, unlike other 'modern' countries that had wiped out leprosy by the 1940's.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Leprosy is a prohibited word in Japan. They cannot use in publications and in broadcasting. They use Hansen's Disease instead. I am surprised the word is still used in English.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Huh?!?!?! If he can do a deep bow apology like this one here, how hard would it be to do it, with the same insincerity in other places?

I mean really now, he is only doing this because the government lost the case, if they had won, there is no way he would have done this, even though it would have been deserved.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Come on. This is the Prime Minister of Japan apologizing formally to the relatives of those people who suffered not only from the disease itself but also from the stigma, oppression and isolation that resulted from having that disease. As the successor to those Governments which instituted such policies, and as the elected leader (whether you like him or not) of the descendants of those people who shunned their fellow citizens, he's the right person to issue that apology.

"Abe's apology was a blessing," Hwang Gwang Nam, who serves as deputy head of the plaintiffs' group, said.

Surely we can suspend the cynicism for once.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@ Yubaru

I saw an office girl bow to her customer yesterday;her head touched her knees-Abe’s bow is shallow in comparison!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

He's probably been advised by Kishida to bow sincerely as to gain broader support and understanding among the rest of the population.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't know whether he should be apologizing for something he didn't cause. However I think he should still take responsibility as the affected needed to take this to courts to get an apology.

On a side note people should be grateful they can take such cases to court against the government and win. In most other countries you will just waste your money.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well, this is good to see him making amends.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'll say one thing for Japanese politicians; they have the GUTS to apologize to their people. Unlike so many other politicians around the world.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Many years ago, Abe was the politician who first met with the families of the abductees; he should be credited for eventually getting a few of them returned to Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good to read the positive comments from posters. Hopefully the apology provides the affected people some closure or allows them to move on.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In spite of Pyongyang being a short flight away Abe has yet to initiate any formal talks-Maybe, he is afraid that he will fail or succeed?

Keep that monster in the closet!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Good for Japan and good on PM Abe to accept responsibility on behalf of the Government and apologize. These families of leprosy sufferers really appreciate it, and can now move on.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

And here it goes again. No matter what Abe does, there are always haters complaining left and right.

For me it is a good thing Abe had taken the time to do it. Because he didn’t had too.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Two poignant novels which are very revealing about the past of leprosy in Japan:

Durian Sukegawa - Sweet Bean Paste

Shusaku Endo - The Girl I Left Behind

4 ( +4 / -0 )


I second your recommendation of Sweet Bean Paste. A beautiful book.

And I'll check out Endo's book, which I haven't read.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's ok, no big deal. Save your semi-deep bow for the next issue you want to quickly sweep under the rug.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thank you so much Mr. Abe. Let us all understad, it was a terrible debillitating disease that was feared and lothed because incurabl and contagous. Therefore, sufferers were laothed and dispised, and treated particularly badly by the Japanese Government, who isolate them and basically left them to die. Especially in Shimo-Meguro area in Tokyo, they were walled in and food thrown over the wall. The only people who helped and treated them were the Chrisitians, God bless them. Now there is a cure and we hope the Stigma is deminishing although not altogether gone. However, if you catch the disease, it still takes 2 years to cure. lt has been a hard fought battle against the disease and discrimination. l think the moral, if there is one, is that we face our problems not hide them behind a wall. A wise and couragous decision and l'm glad Mr. Abe stepped up to the plate, THANK YOU.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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