Nagoya court awards vaccine victims Y2 billion

After 17 years, the families of 22 children who died or became permanently ill from mandatory vaccinations win their case.

Asahi Evening News (National) Wednesday, July 28, 1993

The Nagoya High Court awarded Y2 billion Tuesday to the families of children who died or grew up suffering side effects from vaccinations they were forced to take before World War II.

The settlement was reached between the government and 22 families for suffering caused by its mandatory vaccination system, ending a 17-year court battle.

The 22 children were vaccinated from 1961 to 1975 against polio, diphtheria and whooping. As a result, nine died and 14 grew up with nervous disorders, inflammation of the brain and other painful side effects. The court awarded Y890 million in damages plus interest over 17 years, giving the plaintiffs a total of Y2 billion

Presiding Judge Masaaki Hattori said damage caused by vaccinations was serious, with some children dying only a few years after birth, and others suffering from grave after effects throughout their lives.

Hattori said the parents of the affected children had suffered "indescribable" stress, anxiety and agony in caring for the 22 victims. Hattori urged the state to start a safe vaccination system ‘and to streamline health facilities to care for victims.

Twenty-three families in seven prefectures—Aichj, Gifu, Mie, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Kyoto—had asked the state for a total of Y2.83 billion., for causing death or serious after effects on their vaccinated children. The 23rd family did not benefit from the judgement because its claim stems from vaccinations given before World War II.

Government officials admitted that "it is time" the case was settled. The Tokyo High Court last December awarded 61 victims of the government vaccine profram a total of Y2.3 billion.

A total of 24 families filed damage suits with the Nagoya District Court over a seven year period from 1976, seeking Y2.99 billion from the state. In 1985, the local court ordered the state to pay some Y908 million in damages to only 15 of the plaintiffs.

After both the state and all the 24 plaintiffs appealed the ruling, the Nagoya High Court recommended in June 1992 that the two sides enter negotiations to reach a settlement. The negotiations began early this year after the Tokyo High Court held the state responsible for negligence.

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