This story is part of a package on "Disability in Japan". The introduction is here.

Staff writer In a small office building in the suburbs of Saitama City north of Tokyo, Tsutomu Kushima, 43, and his three colleagues run a small publisher named Mikumosha. They publish "CC Japan," a biweekly magazine whose core readers are a certain small and very specific group.

That group is made up of people afflicted by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which mainly comprises people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestines that impact the digestive system. Most IBD patients are first afflicted in their teens and 20s, but the cause is unknown and as yet there is no cure.