Washington International Law Journal


Marc Lim


The fight against AIDS in Japan, a journey that has encountered much resistance from a Japanese public and corporate sector ill-educated on the disease, may have taken a new turn. Before 1995, employees infected with HIV or suffering from AIDS had little recourse in fighting against the discrimination they faced in their private lives and in the Japanese corporate sector. With the AIDS Dismissal Case, the Japanese judiciary, in a show of judicial activism, found the dismissal of an HIV-infected worker based upon his HIV status illegal and an infringement upon the worker's human rights. In addition, the court found the disclosure of the worker's HIV status by his employer to third parties to be an infringement upon his right to privacy. This Comment examines this case and show its ambiguities and potential precedential value. Many predict that the case will be seen as a viable base for civil rights protections against AIDS-based employment discrimination in Japan.

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