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January 22, 2002

Skirmunt to Petition Supreme Court

Barbara Skirmunt, a part-time German teacher at Tsukuba University Foreign Language Center from 1994 until a heart attack and diagnosis of leukemia in mid 1996, is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear her case. Her contract was not renewed following diagnosis of her illness by her doctor even though she had resumed work in 1997 and was diagnosed in complete remission in 1998. Tsukuba University officials noted her condition at that time as a reason for non-renewal. Skirmunt is claiming that the university violated her privacy by contacting the doctor to find out about her condition, a violation of Article 13 of Japan's Constitution. Skirmunt's appeal to the Tokyo High Court was rejected in October 2000 with no mention of her rights to privacy. Petition deadline is the end of January.

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