Masuzoe vows fast action on hep-C claims

Kyodo News

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe said Wednesday that he hoped to settle lawsuits filed by people infected with hepatitis C from tainted blood products by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, asked about the remark, supported Masuzoe and said it would be best to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

“The sooner it is, the better,” Fukuda said.

Masuzoe said the ministry found new documents Tuesday night containing the names of eight more hepatitis C patients.

That brings the number of patients who can be fully identified to 10, further contradicting earlier government claims that it was unable to identify any of the people infected by fibrinogen made by Green Cross Corp., when the blood scandal broke in 2002.

Masuzoe said at the House of Representatives Health, Labor and Welfare Committee in the afternoon that he would like to take steps “before the year ends” to reach an amicable settlement with the victims, as suggested by the Osaka High Court.

“The government as a whole would like to reach a proper decision,” Masuzoe said.

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Masuzoe vows fast action on hep-C claims