Ikuko Kuno gave birth to her first son at a maternity hospital in Ise, Mie Prefecture, in May 1988. The only thing different from when she gave birth to her daughter in 1986 was that the obstetrician gave her a blood-clotting agent to stop her hemorrhaging.

Soon after she was discharged from the hospital, she began tiring and displaying signs of jaundice. A month later, she was diagnosed with hepatitis C and immediately hospitalized.

At that time, Kuno, a dental hygienist who now lives in Chiba Prefecture, knew that contracting the virus runs the risk of developing cirrhosis and then liver cancer. What she did not know was that she was among thousands of victims of a drug-induced medical disaster that experts say could have been prevented if regulators had heeded international warnings and acted sooner.