LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: In Search of Mr. Carter

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Left: A. Carter with a Minamata disease victims’ representative in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 7, 1972. Right: A. Carter in Moscow on a Stockholm-bound bus on June 4, 1972. (Photos by Takeshi Shiota)

Dear Editor,

I am looking for Mr. A. Carter, a volunteer Japanese interpreter at a press conference of NGO forums during the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972.

Victims of Minamata disease — a neurological disorder caused by severe mercury poisoning, first officially discovered in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, in the 1950s — spoke at the conference, and Mr. Carter served as their interpreter.

In severe cases, the disease caused comas, paralysis, insanity or even death. The pollution was caused by Chisso Corporation, whose chemical factory released waste water into Minamata Bay. For decades, the people of Minamata have been fighting both the government and the company, which were slow to recognize the disease and did little to stop it.

Takeshi Shiota, a Japanese photographer, still remembers the powerful role that Mr. Carter played in making the audience understand the victims’ plight and support their cause. Although 40 years have passed, Mr. Shiota wants to introduce Mr. Carter’s contributions in a photo book featuring supporters of Minamata disease victims; however, nobody knows how to contact him.

On the Web, we found an article entitled “In Minamata Is the Future of Japan?” written by Anthony Carter. I assume that this person must be the same A. Carter; however, the webmaster doesn’t have Carter’s contact information.

Mr. Carter is a minister, has a Japanese wife, and interpreted at the Ramon Magsaysay Award ceremony in 1973, according to some sources.

If you know Mr. Carter or have any information on his whereabouts, please contact me at [email protected]

Minori Okuda, Tokyo

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