The officials from the Imperial Household Agency informed Ogata that the visit of Japan’s imperial couple will not be an opportunity for them to hear about the suffering and hardships which were experienced by the patients. After all, there are hundreds of citizens who still hope for certification as victims of the Minamata disease since it entitles them for compensation directly from the Japanese government.
Masami Ogata, 55 years old and head of “kataribe” or storytellers group, says that the Minamata disease has not come yet to an end until today. Ogata believes that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko wanted to remember that the victims still exist.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are also set to present followers at the sanitarium of Kikuchi Keifuen on October 26. The Kikuchi Keifuen is a place wherein 1,288 remains of leprosy patients can be found. The purpose why the government of Japan isolates the leprosy patients is the fact that they do not want the disease to spread further. Even their connection to their family members was also severed and some remains were not claimed to be buried in the family graves. The acting head of the Kikuchi Keifuen residents association will be the one to welcome the imperial couple of Japan during their visit to the place.