Kumamoto Pref. recognizes deceased woman as Minamata victim

The Kumamoto prefectural government certified a deceased woman as a victim of the Minamata mercury-poisoning disease Tuesday by dropping its appeal over a lawsuit she had filed.

The woman, who was born in Minamata, Kumamoto, and lived in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, before her death in March at the age of 87, had filed the suit to seek official recognition as a Minamata disease victim.

Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima will consider going to see her family to apologize, the local government said.

In July 2010, the Osaka District Court ruled in the woman's favor, but the Kumamoto prefectural government appealed the decision.

The latest move came after the Supreme Court posthumously recognized another deceased woman as a victim of the mercury-poisoning disease last month, prompting the prefectural government to follow the decision.

It also put an end to administrative litigation by people seeking certification as Minamata disease victims, according to the Environment Ministry.

The number of certified Minamata disease victims now stands at 2,977 nationwide.