Details of the Initiative

The Uda Laboratory studies sociology from the perspective of how to mitigate the damage caused by environmental pollution, drug-induced suffering, and industrial food pollution. In 2023, with 17 seminar students in the third year, I started research on the Morinaga arsenic milk poisoning incident. In this case, arsenic was contaminated in milk powder manufactured by Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. in 1955. Infants across western Japan, who drank it, suffered arsenic poisoning. At the time of the incident, at least 130 infants died. As of 2019, 13,451 people have been certified as victims. There are still people applying for certification.
In the year after the incident, it was announced that there was little concern about the aftereffects. However, a follow-up survey by medical scientists and health nurses revealed in 1969 that various health problems continued to occur. This is better known as the ‘Visit after 14 years’ report, but how has the incident been followed up since then?
The surviving victims who were babies at that time were in their late 60s as of 2023. How have they lived their lives until now? Compared to other food pollution cases, the compensation appears to be more generous, but is that true? Why are the victims not certified based on medical standards unlike the victims of other pollutions? There are many things we should know.
In 2023, we visited the victims, their families, and people concerned in Okayama prefecture. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who cooperated with our research.

Materials kept at the home of a victim’s family (Photo by Higuchi Manato)
An interview (Photo by Higuchi Manato)
Visiting the Life Hygiene Section, Health and Medical Department, of Okayama Prefecture (Photo by Watanabe Koki)