HOUSTON VOICE / APRIL 7, 1995 11
Tokyo company that fired AIDS victim ordered to pay damages
By PETER LANDERS
FOR THE HOUSTON VOICE
TOKYO, Thursday, March 30 (AP)—A
company that fired an employee
because he had the AIDS virus must
rehire him and pay damages, a Tokyo
court ordered Thursday in Japan's first
ruling on the right of AIDS victims to
The Tokyo District Court ruling also
was the latest in recent years to challenge the legal rights of Japanese
employers, who have long enjoyed
favorable treatment on such issues as
HONOLULU, Wednesday, March
29 (AP)—A Circuit judge refused
Tuesday to permit the Mormon
Church to enter the legal battle to
keep same-sex marriages illegal in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
day Saints wanted to join the slate in
defending the ban on same-sex marriages.
Three gay and lesbian couples filed
a lawsuit against the state four years
ago seeking lo overturn the law banning their marriages. Preliminary
court rulings sided wilh the couples,
and the matter is set to be heard by the
state Supreme Court in September.
The Mormon Church submitted its
petition seeking to intervene earlier this winter. At the time, Don Hal-
I strom, the regional representative for the church, said it did so
because of the seriousness of the
issue and its potential impact on
"There are times when certain
moral issues become so compelling
that churches have a duty to make their
feelings known," Hallstrom said.
The attorney for the couples had
argued the church's motion was filed
too late and the church had no legal
Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt recently
signed into law a bill denying recognition to homosexual marriages
made in other states.
Opponents of the bill have said it
violates constitutional guarantees, and gay groups said they will sue
over Utah's law if Hawaii legalizes
hiring and defective product
The court ordered a computer software company to pay the man, identified only as Mr. A, 6 million yen, or
about $68,000, in damages and 9 million yen, or about $100,000, in back pay.
The company learned of Mr. A's infection through a hospital AIDS tesi that
was conducted without his knowledge when he was assigned to a company
subsidiary in Southeast Asia.
The man was ordered back to Japan,
where he was informed of his infection
by the company president. The com-
'hich also was not identified,
fired him shortly afterward, in Oct.
"With this decision, corporate
attitudes will have to change," said the
man's lawyer, Tsutomu Shimizu.
The decision was one of several landmark cases to go against corporations
in recent years. Last year, a court in
western Japan ordered Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. to compensate a customer for a defective television set that exploded.
Yet the fact that the plaintiff chose to
remain anonymous illustrated the
widespread prejudice in Japan
against AIDS victims.
"There's social discrimination,"
said Shimizu. "The situation in
Japan now is such that if his name were
disclosed, the discrimination
would extend even to his family."
According to the Health and Welfare
Ministry, 3233 people in Japan have
the virus that causes AIDS, up from 2914
a year ago. The ministry says 889 have
full-blown AIDS, and 536 people have
died from the disease.
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