[April 20, 2006] 

High court rules state responsible for vaccine side effects+

Plaintiffs had sought 120 million yen in compensation from the state, but
Presiding Judge Katsutoshi Yokota rejected their claim, saying the
manufacturer, the Research Foundation of Microbial Diseases of Osaka
University, already paid 170 million yen in compensation to two of the
families who won a damages suit at the Osaka District Court in March 2003
and 20 million yen in consolation money to the other family who lost a
legal battle over the issue.

The seven plaintiffs were the parents of Daisuke Kinoshita, who died at the
age of 2, and another couple who lost their 1-year-old son, as well as Hana
Ueno, 16, who suffers severe brain damage, and her parents.

Ueno and the two late boys developed aseptic meningitis after receiving the
MMR vaccine between 1989 and 1991. The 1-year-old boy, whose parents lost
their initial suit, was determined to have died of influenza.

Judge Yokota ruled the state should be held accountable as it had the
authority to choose vaccines and it took the initiative in conducting the

He also said the general public, without specialist knowledge, put their
trust in the state when receiving the vaccinations.