Minamata Disease Abridged Timeline

1908 Chisso factory built in Minamata village.
1932 Chisso begins production of acetaldehyde using mercury catalyst.
1956 Official confirmation of Minamata disease
1957 Mutual-aid Association of Minamata Disease Patients and their Families formed.
1959 Sympathy Agreement between Chisso and the victims.
1968 The Government admits officially that Chisso’s organic mercury causes Minamata disease.
1969 Lawsuit filed in Minamata disease trial (“first trial”).
1971 Direct negotiations with Chisso begins staging a sit-in in front of the head office in Tokyo.
1972 Plaintiff patients express the desire for a support center for patients and their families.
Calls for a Minamata Disease Center made at the First United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm).
Donations solicited nationwide.
1973 Victims win suit against Chisso.
Compensation Agreement with Chisso by both trial group and direct negotiations group; applied to all certified patients.
1974 Net dividing Minamata Bay from the open sea set up.
Minamata Disease Center completed. Named “Soshisha” (meaning “mutual consideration”).
Minamata Disease Certification Applicants’ Council formed.
Mushroom factory constructed. Work by patients and others begins there (-1983).
Collection and analysis of mercury-laden sludge, fish, and shellfish from Minamata Bay.
1975 Exchange of visits with leaders of Canadian Indian Minamata Disease patient group.
Fake patient comment by Sugimura and others, members of Kumamoto Prefectural Assembly.
1977 Beginning of activities as base for uncertified patients’ movement.
Minamata Experiential School opened (study and exchanges regarding Minamata disease; now the “Gonzui School”).
Beginning of sales of low-pesticide citrus fruit grown by Minamata disease patients.
1978 Governmental notification narrowing the certification criteria.
Government begins providing financial support for Chisso by issuing prefectural bonds so that compensation payments continued.
1979 Detsuki Health Center established. Acupuncture, moxibustion, and massage treatments provided. (Separated from Soshisha in 1986)
1980 Third lawsuit filed.
1982 Minamata Life School opened (free school; study of Minamata disease and organic farming, -1992).
Minamata disease patients moved to the Osaka district file a suit.
1983 Document center completed. Documents related to Minamata disease collected, organized, displayed, loaned, published, etc.
1986 Survey of distribution of plants and animals around Minamata Bay shoreline
The 30th anniversary of the official confirmation of Minamata disease. Asian People’s Convention was held.
1988 Minamata Disease Museum established.
1989 All directors of the Soshisha resign owing to a matter of sales of citrus fruits.
Minamata Disease Patients Alliance formed.
1990 Traveling Exhibition of Minamata Disease Museum held at various places in Japan. (-1994)
Environmental restoration of Minamata Bay (dredging and reclamation of mercury-laden sludge) finished.
Publication of newsletter begins.
The Environmental Creation Development Project in Minamata begins. (-1999)
1993 Illustrated Minamata Disease published (bilingual, in both Japanese and English).
1994 Citizens’ Gatherings to Consider the Recovery of Minamata (“Sorosoro moyainaoshi ba hajimen ba”) begin to be held.
1995 Cabinet approves “the Final Settlement of Minamata disease.”
1996 The 40th anniversary of the official confirmation of Minamata disease. MINAMATA Tokyo Exhibition held.
1997 Net dividing Minamata Bay removed.
1998 Indonesian and Tagalog editions of Illustrated Minamata Disease published.
2000 Financial support for Chisso at Government expense begins.
2001 Osaka High Court find national and prefectural governments guilty.
Events in conjunction with International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant held.
2002 Attendance at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
2004 08/28 New Noh play Shiranui performed as an offering on land reclaimed from Minamata Bay; attended by 1,300 people from around the country.
2004 10/15 Supreme Court decides Kansai lawsuit over Minamata disease, recognizes responsibility of national government and Kumamoto Prefecture, orders compensation paid. First Supreme Court decision in a lawsuit over compensation from the national government; clearly recognizes government responsibility.
2005 02/20 Minamata Disease Shiranui Patients’ Association (?ishi Toshio, chairman; hereafter “Shiranui Patients’ Association”) established.
2005 10/03 Fifty members of Shiranui Patients’ Association file lawsuit demanding compensation payments from national government, Kumamoto Prefecture, and Chisso (“No More Minamata National Government Compensation Lawsuit”).
2005 10/13 The three prefectures of Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and Niigata begin accepting applications for new health insurance booklets [entitling bearers to treatment for Minamata disease].
2007 04/27 Twelve uncertified Niigata Minamata disease patients file lawsuit in Niigata District Court against national government, Niigata Prefecture, and Sh?wa Denk?, the company which caused the disease, demanding compensation payments of \12 million each for a total of \144 million (“Third Niigata Minamata Disease Lawsuit”).
2007 10/11 Nine members of victims’ Mutual Aid Society file lawsuit against national government, Kumamoto Prefecture, and Chisso, demanding compensation of \16 million to \100 million per person (total \228 million)
2009 07/08 Law for special measures regarding relief for Minamata disease patients and resolution of the Minamata issue (Minamata Disease Special Measures Law) passed.
2010 03/15 Fourth conference on out-of-court settlement in Shiranui Association lawsuit. Kumamoto District Court suggestions include one-time payments of \2.1 million and average monthly payments of \15,000 for medical treatment.
2010 05/01 Prime Minister Hatoyama attends memorial ceremony for victims of Minamata disease; first time for an incumbent prime minister to attend. After the memorial ceremony, acceptance of applications for assistance under the Minamata Disease Special Measures Law begins.
2010 12/15 Environment Minister Matsumoto Ry? approves plan to reorganize Chisso (company split-up plan).
2011 01/12 In its reorganization under the Minamata Disease Special Measures Law, Chisso establishes a new company, “JNC,” to continue its regular operations
2011 03/25 Out-of-court settlement ends Shiranui Patients’ Association lawsuit (“No More Minamata Kumamoto Lawsuit”).
2012 07/30 Acceptance of applications for benefits under Minamata Disease Special Measures Law ends.
2013 04/16 Full victory in Supreme Court in Mizoguchi lawsuit (which demanded cancellation of the rejection of his late mother’s application for certification as Minamata disease patient, and that the court require that she be certified).

Timothy George translated into English

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