Washington International Law Journal


Awaji Takehisa is the original author of this article. Keisuke Mark Abe translated the article into English.


As early as 1983, Japan's Health and Welfare Ministry had reason to know that the use of unheated blood products by hemophiliacs was infecting them with HIV, the AIDS virus. Although heated-and safe-blood products were already available from the United States, government approval in Japan was deliberately delayed for almost three years while local pharmaceutical companies developed the products. By the time the unheated blood products were all withdrawn from the market, many of Japan's hemophiliacs had contracted HIV. A number of them, or their survivors, sued the government and the pharmaceutical companies. At the end of the consolidated trials, but before handing down their opinions, the two District Courts handling the cases made proposals for settlement that were accepted by the parties. The courts' reasons for recommending settlement were that time was of the essence in order to get relief to those still suffering and that remedies unavailable via the courts were possible through settlement.

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