SAPPORO – A group of lawyers wants a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker to retract a comparison he made between mad cow disease patients and journalists’ coverage of a controversy over school history texts, the lawyers said Tuesday.
They said Lower House member Shoichi Nakagawa, an ex-farm minister, said in a speech Saturday in Obihiro, Hokkaido, that the media have a mental block over the textbook issue as they would if they were suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
The lawyers are acting for patients of CJD, which is the human equivalent of mad cow disease. The patients are suing the government and importers of tainted dura mater.
One junior high school textbook, which China and South Korea say gives a distorted view of Japan’s wartime military aggression, was approved April 3. The textbook was compiled by a group of nationalist historians.
Nakagawa said the manner in which the media claim the book glamorizes Japan “has always been the same.”
Tetsuji Abe, director of the secretariat for the lawsuit, said, “The comment is insensitive and irritates the patients and the plaintiffs of the lawsuit.”
The suit was filed by patients who contracted CJD through the transplant of the tainted dura mater.
“We demand that Mr. Nakagawa retract the comment and issue an official apology,” he said.
Nakagawa later said: “It was inappropriate to use the disease as a metaphor in the speech. I am very sorry for the people concerned.”
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