Hemophiliac says tainted blood scandal not over yet

Almost a year after playing a key role in a historic court battle against the government and five drug firms, a 21-year-old HIV-positive hemophiliac insists the truth behind the suffering of hundreds of victims has yet to be revealed.

Ryuhei Kawada and the others became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus due to the negligence of the drug makers and the government in administering blood products. “Not much truth has been revealed despite the promises of the defendants to make utmost efforts to disclose the true story behind the disaster,” Kawada said in an interview with The Japan Times.

Kawada was the public face behind a slew of suits filed over the distribution of tainted blood products that infected nearly 2,000 hemophiliacs with HIV. “I could never be satisfied until the truth is disclosed,” he said. “Without knowing the truth, the defendants would be unable to offer sincere apologies to us, because they could not understand what was wrong (with their actions).”

The seven-year litigation that Kawada, a student at Tokyo Keizai University, helped spearhead ended last March when the government and drug firms involved agreed to provide each of the plaintiffs a one-time payment of 45 million yen and monthly payments of 150,000 yen to each of the plaintiffs who develop full-blown AIDS.