High Court Orders Gov

High Court Orders Gov't to Redress Radish Sprout Growers
May 21/03
Kyodo
TOKYO -- The Tokyo High Court was cited as ordering the state on Wednesday to pay some 16.9 million yen in compensation to the growers of white radish sprouts for branding the vegetable as a likely cause of a fatal outbreak of food poisoning in 1996.  Presiding Judge Hiromu Emi was quoted as saying, "The state destroyed people's trust in kaiware (radish sprouts) as a food," in handling down the ruling, overturning a May 2001 Tokyo District Court ruling rejecting the growers' compensation demand.

The story explains that a national association of growers and 18 companies that are members of the group had demanded the state pay 110 million yen to
make up for the decline in sales they suffered following the announcement by the then Health and Welfare Ministry that "kaiware daikon" were the probable
source of the outbreak of food poisoning caused by the O-157 strain of E. coli bacteria.

The district court had said the government made the right decision when it judged the product as the most probable cause of the food poisoning and the declaration was justifiable to prevent a recurrence of the poisoning.

More than 9,000 people, mainly elementary school students, were infected with food poisoning that began in July 1996 in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.  Three primary school pupils died.

Note:  A related article can be found at: 

"Silence of the Calves", Organized crime registry - hosted by James Graham,This article originally appeared in Archipelago magazine.