Saturday, July 16, 2005


Minamata is a small factory town dominated by the Chisso
Corporation. The town faces the Shiranui Sea, and Minamata Bay is
part of this sea. In Japanese, "Chisso" means nitrogen. The
Chisso Corporation was once a fertilizer and carbicle company, and
gradually advanced to a petrochemical and plastic-maker company.
From 1932 to 1968, Chisso Corporation, a company located in
Kumamoto Japan, dumped an estimated 27 tons of mercury compounds
into Minamata Bay. Kumamoto is a small town about 570 miles
southwest of Tokyo. The town consists of mostly farmers and
fisherman. When Chisso Corporation dumped this massive amount of
mercury into the bay, thousands of people whose normal diet
included fish from the bay, unexpectedly developed symptoms of
methyl mercury poisoning. The illness became known as the
"Minamata Disease". The mercury poisoning resulted from years of
environmental destruction and neglect from Chisso Corporation.
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