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Red Cross ordered to pay damages over Wakayama poisoning.

WAKAYAMA, Japan, March 2 Kyodo

The Wakayama District Court ordered the Japanese Red Cross Society on Tuesday to pay 2 million yen in damages for failing to appropriately treat one of the four victims killed in a curry-poisoning incident in 1998.

Miyuki Torii, 16, died at a Wakayama hospital run by the society one day after eating curry and rice laced with arsenic during a community summer festival on July 25, 1998.

Presiding Judge Tadahi Isoo ordered the hospital to pay the compensation saying its medical staff were negligent over the monitoring of the patient's pulse and blood pressure. But the judge turned down the plaintiffs' claim to redress by the Wakayama city government.

Torii's parents had demanded that the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Wakayama city government pay 50 million yen in compensation.

The plaintiffs claimed the teenager died because the hospital thought her condition was not serious and failed to provide appropriate medical treatment.

The municipal government told the hospital a mass poisoning that broke out at the festival was an ordinary food poisoning case, according to the lawsuit.

The city government initially believed it was just a food poisoning case while the local police announced the day after the incident that the victims apparently suffered cyanic acid poisoning.

A week after the incident, the police said they had detected arsenic in the curry.

The same court turned down a claim for 10 million yen in damages filed by the family of another dead victim, Takatoshi Taninaka, 64, against the city.

In December 2002, the district court sentenced Masumi Hayashi, 42, to death for killing the four and injuring 63 others by lacing curry with arsenic before it was served to community members at the festival. Hayashi has appealed the sentence to the Osaka High Court.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Mar 9, 2004
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