It has been known in connection with a chronic mercury poisoning incident spawning over decades, leading to the once-mysterious "Minamata disease". A single mercury polluting corporation was at fault for killing hundreds and harming thousands of people in Minamata and nearby.
Official website (http://www.minamatacity.jp/) in Japanese
Minamatadisease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning.
Minamata was even dubbed as Chisso's "castle town", in reference to the capital cities of feudal lords who ruled Japan from the 16th to 19th century.
The staple food of victims was invariably fish and shellfish from Minamata Bay and that the cats in the local area, who tended to eat scraps from the family table, had died with symptoms similar to those now discovered in humans.
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