TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court has ordered the government to pay 370 million yen ($3.4 million) in damages to the relatives of former leprosy patients over a segregation policy that severed family ties and caused long-lasting prejudice.
Kumamoto District Court ruled Friday that the segregation violated the human rights of patients and their relatives.
It said the government failed to stop the segregation until 1996, decades after leprosy became curable in the late 1940s.
An earlier ruling in 2001 found the segregation policy unconstitutional and prompted government reparations, but only to former patients.
More than 12,000 leprosy patients were kept at 14 isolated sanatoriums across the country. About 1,500 remain at the facilities today with their ties to families and society severed.