My Battle in Brief
Me outside the Tokyo High Court with verdict in hand
Soon up from my sick bed, still with the lingering effects of dependency and in a weakened state, I embarked upon a journey as far as the Supreme Court of Japan to help get recognition for the pain, suffering and losses associated with prescription benzodiazepines.
My lawyer and I fought this case in earnest to try and set a precedent with a view to lobbying for safer benzodiazepine prescription guidelines in Japan, and to help raise greater awareness in general.
This against a world famous doctor, the hospital that he was employed by, and their teams of lawyers.
Apart from my lawyer, I basically fought this case in a country and language different from my own (Japanese) for 6 years in the courts whilst working full time and living alone without any immediate support around me.
My case also involved many other Challenges including being directly affected by the mega-quake and nuclear disaster in March 2011 which coincided with my Supreme Court Appeal. I actually had to continue preparing this by myself (in Japanese) as I moved from evacuation point to evacuation point in between rotational blackouts.
Commenced preparations for litigation.
Began the case by representing myself during the initial stages of mediation at the Tokyo Summary Court which I had lodged alone.
Commenced judicial proceedings at Tokyo District Court.
Returned to Japan again in order to testify with no place to stay, no job and no money.
Commenced proceedings at Tokyo High Court.
Ended the case by representing myself as I made my appeal to the Supreme Court of Japan alone (in the midst of the 3/11 mega-quake and Fukushima nuclear disaster).
Supreme Court decision was delivered.
Some of my goods arrive from Fukushima whilst
writing my Supreme Court appeal on the move
I continued to write my appeal whilst moving several times
in the midst of radiation fallout, aftershocks, blackouts etc
The Deepest Wound
Me outside my evacuee housing unit
Clearly for me the most painful wound inflicted by this entire ordeal was the impact it had on my elderly mother. The effects my doctor induced dependency had on her were bad enough, but due to my life having been thrown completely off track, I haven’t been able to repay the retirement savings she lent me for my university education, nor have I been able to support her during her retirement.
Justice or Not?
I think the ultimate discrepancy in the High Court Verdict is that the Judge failed to rule out the fact I was dependent in terms of the DSM-IV-TR (worldwide recognized diagnostic standard) which formed the overall basis for the entire case.
Although the Judge addressed two of the criteria in tolerance (criteria 1) and withdrawal (criteria 2), albeit without any direct reference to the DSM-IV-TR itself, he completely failed to address the other three that were being claimed – effectively leaving them standing.
One Small Example
My case is just one small example of how destructive benzodiazepines can be.
Despite having spent significant time, money and effort getting an education and coming to Japan nearly 20 years ago, and working in international relations, at age 47, I now have absolutely “nothing” – no home, no family, no savings, no assets, and no security, only outstanding debts and court fees.
If I wasn’t exposed to benzodiazepine dependency, there wouldn’t have been any needless suffering, losses, damages or any subsequent court case. Therefore, I would have had the capacity to rescue myself from the 3/11 disaster when it struck.
This is what benzodiazepine dependency can do. It can create a domino effect, and these effects can reach far and deep affecting not only the individual, but also entire families, work, and indeed all society (See socioeconomic costs by Prof. Ashton).
The primary language of this website is English. Japanese appears as translations only (except for some original court documents).
These translations have been done by many different translators including me. Therefore, there are differences in quality and styles.
Please understand that I am not native Japanese and subsequently there are parts that may sound unnatural in Japanese.
Throughout this most grueling of challenges, I was always able to draw on inspiration from the All Blacks, and in particular captain Richie McCaw.
No matter how hard things got, or even when they were hard done by, they never complained and just got on with it.
There were many challenges in my case.
These included fighting a world famous doctor in another country and language, acting as go-between for a harsh natured Japanese speaking lawyer and a sensitive natured English speaking doctor, making my Supreme Court Appeal whilst evacuating from Fukushima etc during the 3/11 disaster etc…
Many people have asked me why I fought as far as the Supreme Court of Japan and why I decided to set up this website.
Regarding the former, I felt it was just simply wrong – people shouldn’t go to their doctor and come away suffering like that. I could see there was a significant problem in the current medical world that was affecting not only me but many others as well. I felt the problem needs to be brought to the attention of the authorities and there needs to be some accountability.
Regarding the later, knowing what prescription dependency is like, and being aware of the Effects on Us All, I felt the need to do something so that others aren’t led into suffering the same fate. This gave way to the idea of establishing this website.
Below are some of the skills I needed to call upon in my case, however, unlike my case where I was required to play an active role between two countries and languages, not all cases may require such input from the claimants.
- Cross cultural
- Formal writing
- Stress management
- Time management
- Money management
- Health maintenance
- Self awareness