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MINAMATA, Kumamoto Pref. (Kyodo) Sumiko Kaneko, 74, hopes to outlive, even by a day, her 50-year-old son, Yuji, who has been in a wheelchair the past nine years.

“His condition is getting worse, and now even we family members do not understand what he says or wants,” she said of her third son, who suffers congenital Minamata disease. “He must feel miserable that he cannot express his feelings to people, while I myself have had sleepless nights thinking about him.”

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