Abe trial begins next week

The mother of a hemophiliac who died of AIDS after being administered HIV-tainted blood products said Mar. 5 she wants defendants in the upcoming trial over the medical scandal to offer a sincere apology.

Takeshi Abe, 80, a leading hemophilia authority, will be arraigned before the Tokyo District Court on Mar. 10. He is charged with professional negligence leading to the death of a hemophiliac patient. Akihito Matsumura, 55, former head of the biologics and antibiotics division at the Health and Welfare Ministry, is also charged with professional negligence leading to death. He will enter a plea on Mar. 12.

Matsumura is suspected of approving the import of HIV-contaminated blood products while heading the division from July 1984 to June 1986. Speaking before a news conference, the mother of a hemophiliac who declined to be named recounted the rage she felt after her son’s death in 1991. “My son was treated like a guinea pig,” she said. “I want (Abe) to show his remorse or apologize.”

She said she had held absolute confidence in Abe, who was long considered the authority on Japan’s hemophilia studies. “I had heard Abe was the No. 1 doctor, and my child felt the same way,” she said, adding that she now feels enraged by Abe and his subordinates, whom she charges with the death of her son.