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Court Backs Man Fired Over HIV

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Monday ordered a company and a hospital to pay damages to a man fired from his job after he was found to be HIV-positive.

The Chiba District Court, near Tokyo, awarded $61,600 in damages to the 35-year-old man, a Brazilian of Japanese descent, a court official said.

The man, whose name was withheld by the court, was dismissed in December, 1997 by Takigawa Chemical Industries Ltd., a plastics-processing firm near Tokyo, after a hospital conducted an HIV test without his permission.

Presiding Judge Yukio Nishijima ruled that the dismissal was invalid, said the court official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

``The hospital violated the plaintiff's privacy by conducting the HIV test without his consent and conveying the results to the company,'' Nishijima said in Monday's ruling.

A Takigawa Chemical Industries official, speaking on condition of anonymity, refused to comment, saying that court papers were still unavailable.

It was the first time a Japanese court ordered a medical institution to pay damages for violating the privacy of an HIV-positive individual, said Marii Goto, director of the Japan HIV Center, a private support group.
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