In June 2010, then-Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama proposed naming the global mercury treaty, once finalized, the “Minamata Convention.” Unfortunately, the proposal was not discussed with Minamata victims and support groups before the announcement.
At the 2nd International Negotiating Committee (INC2) held in Japan in January, 2011, a statement was therefore made by Minamata victims and support groups in opposition to naming the international treaty for the Minamata disaster before victims’ issues were resolved. Specifically, the groups called for:
- Clarity on the full extent of the disaster
- Compensation for all victims
- Implementation of the “Polluter Pays” Principle
- Full clean up mercury contamination in Minamata Bay and Shiranui Sea
At the INC2, Minamata victim Shinobu Sakamoto personally handed the statement to the Vice Minister of Environment of Japan, Shoichi Kondo.
Press Release: 23 January, 2011- Resolve Minamata before global mercury treaty named for victims
20 December, 2012: A Global Mercury Treaty, not a Minamata Convention
IPEN suggests the pending global mercury treaty not be named the Minamata Convention. This is because it appears to us that the new treaty will not likely be sufficient to:
- Prevent future Minamata tragedies from happening in the world
- Ensure that victims of future mercury tragedies will not suffer the same fate as the Minamata victims
- Reverse the current and alarming trend of rising levels of global methyl mercury pollution.
27 December, 2012: Victims of Minamata Disease and citizens’ groups delivered a statement to Japan’s Prime Minister, as well as Ministers of the Environment, Economy and Foreign Affairs, the Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, and the Mayor of Minamata City, stating that they are opposed to calling the Mercury Treaty the “Minamata Convention” if the issues of Minamata are not resolved and the Lessons Learned from Minamata are not reflected in the Mercury Treaty. Read the statement