23 Jan '11, 4am

Japan to pay Hep B "victims" US$39b

TOKYO: Japanese hepatitis B sufferers thought to have caught the disease from repeated use of needles during a vaccination programme have agreed to settle a dispute with the state, at the cost of $39 billion. The decision will bring to an end a series of lawsuits across the country but it will pose the government with another problem of raising the 3.2 trillion yen, with some observers saying it may have to raise taxes as a result. Tokyo had already expressed a readiness to accept the proposal, bringing to an end the country's largest medical dispute that will see it compensate about 430,000 people infected with the potentially fatal disease during decades ago. "This is a tough decision, but we decided to accept (the proposal) to end this issue swiftly," the plaintiffs said in a statement issued Saturday. "We demand that the government learn from this lessen and do the bes...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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