KUMAMOTO, Japan (Kyodo) -- Michiko Ishimure, a Japanese author who wrote books on Minamata mercury poisoning disease, died early Saturday due to acute exacerbation of Parkinson's disease. She was 90.
A native of Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan, Ishimure is known for having contributed to public awareness of the Minamata issue. Her literary works include "Kugai Jodo," which translates as "Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow."
Minamata disease paralyzes the human central nervous system and causes birth defects. The Japanese government recognized it as a pollution-caused disease in September 1968.