Fukuoka next on Minamata exhibition tour

Kyodo

A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization will hold an exhibition in the city of Fukuoka in May focusing on Minamata disease.

The event from May 15 to 17 will display samples of mercury-contaminated sludge from Minamata Bay in Kagoshima Prefecture and examples of the victims’ damaged brains.

About 20 video monitors showing the patients’ testimony, including their efforts to sue for redress from Chisso Corp., the chemicals maker whose dumping of mercury-laced water into the bay led to the tragedy over half a century ago.

The exhibition will also showcase a collection of photographs portraying the history of the unresolved tragedy.

The organizer, Minamata Forum, has held showings at 22 venues since 1996 that have drawn more than 130,000 visitors.

Volunteers will be on hand to explain the exhibits in English, given the international character of Fukuoka, home to five consular offices and a U.N. office. Advance reservations for the English-language service are required.

The exhibition follows a landmark Supreme Court ruling that upheld a suit seeking official recognition for Minamata patients.

“Persistent prejudice against Minamata disease still remains,” Yuta Jitsukawa, secretary general of the Minamata Forum, said.

For further information on the exhibition and reservations, call Minamata Forum’s Tokyo office at 03-3208-3051 or its Fukuoka office at 092-282-5846.