Japan's Supreme Court ordered the government to pay 27.5 million yen because five men became gravely ill after completing a mandatory vaccination program.
Four men and the family of a deceased man were awarded 5.5 million yen each.
The Japan Times reports that the men participated in a government program aimed at vaccinating against the hepatitis B virus, but the program employed used needles.
Presiding Justice Ryoji Nakagawa overruled the 2004 Sapporo High Court's findings that two of the five men had lost their chances at compensation because the 20-year statute of limitations had expired.
The had court agreed that the inoculation program had probably caused them to become infected with hepatitis B, and said the statute of limitations should be calculated from the onset of the disease, not the inoculation.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International