Kanebo to start payouts over whitening cream blotches

Japanese cosmetics firm Kanebo is to offer interim compensation payments to 4,000 people who suffered skin blotches after using its popular whitening creams, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

The figure represents more than a quarter of the 15,000 complaints from users in Japan of 54 products containing a chemical called "Rhododenol", which were the subject of recalls last year affecting millions of items.

Users were left with blotches and discolouration after using the creams, which are intended to lighten .

The firm earlier said it would make payments to affected customers, but was intending to delay the compensation.

On Friday a company spokeswoman said Kanebo had already begun paying for affected people but would now begin paying initial compensation for damages and any leave sufferers took for treatment.

She added the payments would be made to more than 4,000 people who still bear marks almost a year after they stopped using the products.

"In the past we said we will pay and leave expenses when patients fully recuperate, but we have now decided to make interim payments if these customers wish," she said.

"We will send letters to all customers whom this rule will be applied to by the end of this month, and will make appointments with them for us visiting their homes to explain the measure," she said.

Payments to individuals will vary, the spokeswoman said, while declining to reveal the total cost, which Jiji Press said amounted to several billion yen (tens of millions of dollars).

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