Minimata: kaja-san to sono sekai
About IDFA
Minimata: kaja-san to sono sekai
IDFA 1990

Minimata: kaja-san to sono sekai

Minimata: the Victims and Their World
Tsuchimoto Noriaki
120 min
Festival history
'Environmental pollution' is the label for the chronic disease a number of Japanese people have developed as a consequence of industrial waste. '¨nvironmental pollution' ought to refer to exhaust fumes, chimney smoke or ocean poisoning. In Japan, the radioactive waste of a nuclear plant is also seen as environmental pollution because its effects are not considered harmful to people.
This line of reasoning springs from a commonly accepted economic situation. Industry creates employment and a means of sustaining life, and is therefore not regarded as a paying enterprise. On the contrary, the factory is respected as being beneficial to the community. A contradictory situation would arise if the waste were pointed out as the cause for a disease and the factory had to close down. Most people would lose their jobs.
A case like this arose at the Chisso company in Minamata. Eighteen years ago, an unknown disease broke out there. Muscular men lost their strength and started drooling, women gave birth to deformed babies. Years of investigation revealed that mercury had found its way to the people's food chain due to Chisso's dumping of factory waste in a nearby river. The company as well as the government denied the outcome of the research and the responsibility for the catastrophe. Many victims pined away in oblivion and attained the status of pariahs.
Film-maker Tsuchimoto Noriaki visited some of these people and recorded their first timid statements on film. Because they were now being put on film, the victims made a close-knit group. They thought out a strategy to buy Chisso shares in order to confront the company with the consequences of their waste-dumping at shareholders' meetings. This shocking confrontation between the victims and the Chisso managers is the climax of this film.
This documentary was frequently shown during the environmental conference in Stockholm, to the great annoyance of the Japanese representatives.
World Sales
    Serinsha Productions
    Serinsha Productions
    Higashi Production
    Higashi Production