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KUMAMOTO (Kyodo) A man who was freed from death row through a retrial in 1983 said Friday he will file a claim for his pension because he was unable to sign up for it while in prison, sources said Wednesday.

Sakae Menda, 83, Japan’s first death row inmate to be found innocent in a retrial, claimed he could not join the national pension plan because he was not given guidance on how to apply for it or how to be exempted from paying premiums while he was in prison for more than 30 years, and even after his release.

The national pension system was set up in 1961 when Menda was still in prison. He said that even after learning of it, he never thought the system would cover him.

The Japanese Federation of Bar Associations admonished the health minister in January 2002, saying the state needs to take measures to provide pension benefits to Menda.

The ministry said pension benefits are only paid to those who paid their premiums and Menda’s case was difficult to cover.

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