Kanebo faces first lawsuit over flawed skin cream


A woman who has developed white blotches on her skin since using a Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. product is suing the company for ¥48 million, it was learned Thursday.

The woman, who filed the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, is believed to be the first person to sue Kanebo over the skin problem, which has been blamed on a skin-whitening ingredient in some of its products.

According to her written complaint and other sources, the Tokyo woman started using a product containing Rhododenol, a skin brightening ingredient developed by Kanebo, in July 2011. Around September the same year, she began developing such symptoms as itchy skin and white blotches on her face, neck and arms.

The woman is demanding compensation based on the product liability law and other legal provisions. She contends her symptoms could have been prevented from getting worse if Kanebo had recalled the products or issued warnings sooner.

Kanebo, a subsidiary of Kao Corp., publicly admitted July 4 that its products were involved in the problem and said that 9,959 customers had experienced or were developing similar symptoms as of Sept. 1.

The company has is paying the medical expenses of some victims and is voluntarily issuing compensation based on symptoms and length of time required for recovery.

A Kanebo official declined to comment on the lawsuit.