The town of Minamata is associated with a major ecological and public health disaster. Between 1930 and 1960, the Chisso chemical factory, in collusion with politicians and media entrusted with minimising the crisis, discharged vast quantities of methylmercury into the sea. The effect of consuming contaminated fish on the central nervous system resulted in deformities and paralysis among the local population. The 15,000 victims were recognised in 2004, on the day of the state's official admission of liability.
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