The , since 2012 reorganized as JNC (Japan New Chisso), is a Japanese chemical company. It is an important supplier of liquid crystal used for LCDs, but is best known for its role in the 34-year-long contamination of the water supply in Minamata, Japan that led to thousands of deaths and victims of disease.
Between 1932 and 1968, Chisso's chemical factory in Minamata released large quantities of industrial wastewater that was contaminated with highly toxic methylmercury. This poison water bioaccumulated in local sea life that was then consumed by the immediate population. As a result of this contamination, 2,265 individuals in the area were inflicted with what is now known as Minamata disease. 1,784 of those victims died as a result of the poisoning and/or the disease. Those who were afflicted with the disease developed skeletomuscular deformities and lost the ability to perform motor functions such as walking. Many also lost significant amounts of vision, as well as hearing and speech capabilities. Severe cases presented with insanity, paralysis, coma and then death within weeks of the onset of symptoms.
As of March 2001, over 10,000 individuals had received financial remuneration from Chisso to compensate them for the harm caused by the chemical release. By 2004, Chisso Corporation had paid $86 million in compensation, and, in the same year, the company was ordered to clean up its contamination. However, the incident remains controversial for not only the poisoning itself but also for its tactics that company used to suppress the negative aftermath.
Chisso is a member of the Mizuho keiretsu.