Readers of my post on borderline issues that have beem dominating the news and postponing the consideration of hard questions may have been disconcerted by my inclusion of the scandal of 418 likely carriers of the Hepatitis C virus who have never been contacted by the manufacturer of a blood-based drug that infected them.
The story of the sufferers, most ( if not all) of them women--and their treatment by the company is sickening.
However, one has to be skeptical. Why is this matter, which the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry knows only the bare bones about due to privacy rules, being used to beat the Ministry over the head? With an estimated 700,000 hepatitis C infections in Japan, many of them related to blood products and blood transfusions, why are these 418 tragedies being given such prominence? The matter is being handled, however slowly and insufficiently, by an ongoing massive lawsuit.
It should surprise no one that the company involved in the lawsuit is Green Cross--a.k.a. Mengele Pharmaceutical. The medical products company founded by the vivisectionists of Unit 731, the guys who escaped prosecution and likely execution by turning over the results of their experiments on human subjects to U.S. intelligence agencies--and who upon their return to Japan were put in charge of the nation's blood supply. The company that prevented the sale of safe, heat treated blood products from overseas in favor of its own stocks, infected with the AIDS virus.
An evil organization.
A target of sanctioned and permitted repulsion.
But does not the focus on Green Cross leave other companies and other victims out of the spotlight, in the dark?
Of course it does...and that's point.
We are given a set of signifiers, sanctioned targets of our derision and disgust. Persons and organizations who become representatives of societal ills,the designated targets of permissible abuse.
In the novel nineteen eighty four, the citizens of Oceania had their "Two Minutes Hate." Here in the scandal media we have our fortnights of ritualized disapproval. This week the target of our permitted taking-of-offense is the straight-from-central-casting former Vice Minister of Defense Moriya Takemasa. Before Moriya, however, the target was boxer Kameda Daiki, before that the model Sawajiri Erika (who in a spectacular collision of teenage petulance, Gallic temper and a complete lack of acting skills provided an answer to the question, "What would happen if someone, someday, just refused to cooperate in a ceremony of enforced jollity?"). Before that we were offered yokozuna Asashōryū, former prime minister Abe Shinzō, MAFF Minister Akagi and his bandages...
I do not know the process by the symbolic enemies of the community are selected, by which the switch is thrown across the length and breadth of society, loosing a flood of obloquy against select individuals and organizations.
How is it that just a few are chosen to be the targets of society's sense of resentment...when so many others are just as deserving of exposure and disgrace?
Sociologists, your answers?