Intended for healthcare professionals


Japan could unlock its people with leprosy

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 08 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:80

Tokyo's Ministry of Health and Welfare has decided to push for the abolition of a law that means that Japan still isolates many people with leprosy. Almost half a century after effective treatment for leprosy was first developed, about 5800 people with the disease live locked up in 15 sanatoriums funded by the state, cut off from the outside world and conveniently forgotten.

But this primitive state of affairs is about to change. Ministers are to push for abolition of the 1907 Leprosy Prevention Law, under which people with leprosy are quarantined for life. If all goes according to plan the law will be scrapped by the Diet (parliament) …

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