The cause of Minamata disease—a fatal illness that attacks the nervous system—was first pinpointed in 1957 as organic mercury poisoning from effluent released by the Chisso Corp., a chemical manufacturer and the largest employer in the Japanese city for which the disease was named. For the next 20 years the company denied responsibility, and was joined by the government in its attempt to cover up the problem. One courageous woman, Michiko Shirashi, took up the cause of the people affected by the disease; her book, Paradise of the Bitter Sea , won nationwide recognition and support for the victims. Freelance journalist Mishima gives a gripping account of this long, bitter struggle, with Shirashi at the center. There were lawsuits that ran on for years, and sit-ins at company offices. Finally, there was some recompense for the victims and a start on cleanup. This story is dramatic evidence of the results of a national policy of prosperity at any cost; it permitted one company to irrevocably damage the waters around Minamata. Black-and-white photos.
About Akio Mishima
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Published August 15, 1992
by Kosei Publishing Co.
History, Education & Reference, Travel, Professional & Technical.