Today, 4 July 1970, you are called as witness.

You wonder if this new generation will ever understand how much of a struggle it was creating the prosperous Japan they will inherit; the sacrifice it took. 

But what happened at Minimata sits heavily on your soul. From your hospital bed, you speak the truth after all these years. Cancer is killing you; the Chisso Company can do nothing now. 

You tell the court how Japan needed to industrialise. With such little farmable land and a growing population, it had to increase productivity. 

The Chisso Factory opened in 1908 making fertilisers, bringing prosperity to Minimata. When acetaldehyde production began, no one knew the toxic waste of organic mercury would slowly build up in the bay. Fish began to die, cats went mad. After you became director of the factory hospital, you analysed them and found mercury poisoning, but the factory forced your silence. 

Soon people became ill; you witnessed terrible suffering; thousands died. The community shunned victims, fearing for their jobs. The Chisso Company opened a purification plant, though they knew its process did not extract mercury. 

For twelve years, Hajime Hosokawa, you watched the agony unfold, until today. Your testimony will swing the case, triggering the largest settlements in Japanese history. 


Alex Harvie

© Copyright 2024 Gregor Harvie - All Rights Reserved