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The House of Councilors approved a bill Friday to compensate current and former Hansen’s disease patients who suffered under the government’s segregation policy.

The law is expected to take effect as early as next week.

To make the payments, the government will set up a review board made up of academics, former and current Hansen’s disease patients, and plaintiffs who filed a suit against the government at the Kumamoto District Court. The court ruled that the isolation policy violated the Constitution.

Under the bill, an estimated 5,500 people will be entitled to receive compensation of between 8 million yen and 14 million yen, with the total sum expected to reach around 70 billion yen. The amount of redress depends on factors including the duration of institutionalization.

Those entitled to the redress have to apply within five years of the law taking effect.

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