A radio documentary produced by a high school broadcasting club prompted the Imperial Household Agency more than a decade ago to change the long-standing rules for its annual New Year’s poetry reading event.

The documentary featured an 83-year-old former Hansen’s disease patient, poet Akio Tanigawa, who resides at Nagashima Aisei-En in Setouchi, Okayama Prefecture, the first national sanitarium for Hansen’s sufferers.

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