The bureaucrats of Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare are unlikely to know what has hit them when Ryuhei Kawada walks through the door for the first time as a politician. Elected to the Diet in July, Mr Kawada, 31, had to cool his heels during the traditional holiday month of August but will now get the chance to take on the very institution that effectively sentenced him to death. Mr Kawada learned at the age of 10 that he had contracted HIV from tainted supplies of blood used to treat him for haemophilia. He went on to become one of the few public faces of a scandal that saw 1,800 patients infected - Mr Kawada is one of the few who survive to this day. He speaks with deliberation and determination, but Mr Kawada is not seeking revenge for his own situation; he wants to ensure that future generations of Japanese do not have to endure what he has gone through. And he is looking beyond health mismanagement to the other great issues that he said embodied the disconnect between Japanese society and those who ruled it. 'The reason I decided to run for office is that I wanted to change the nation and I feel very strongly that in the past, the nation has been responsible for what I would call criminal activities,' he said. Mr Kawada rose to public attention as the victim of a scandal that shocked the country, in which drug companies, doctors and the health ministry continued to sanction the use of tainted blood plasma despite knowing it could infect people with HIV. 'I was told by my mother that I had been infected with HIV,' he says. 'When I learned that I had been infected by my doctors, I thought to myself that I really didn't have very much longer to live. I saw many friends, who had also been infected, gradually developing Aids and passing away. 'At that time, Aids was considered a disease for which there was no cure and basically no treatment,' he said. 'I was filled with great anxiety, but I also had to battle discrimination, so I had to struggle alone and in silence.' In high school, Mr Kawada decided to join a legal suit against the government and pharmaceutical firms responsible for the infections. While others testified in hearings from behind screens to protect their identities, Mr Kawada decided to appear before the media and speak openly about his plight. In 1996, one year after he went public, the health ministry apologised and agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the plaintiffs. In 2000, three executives of Green Cross were convicted of knowingly selling blood products that were tainted with HIV and received brief prison sentences, the longest being two years. Mr Kawada was furious, at the short terms, saying: 'I cannot but feel anger.' It is that burning sense of injustice that convinced him to go into politics, even though the haemophilia symptoms of aching knees plagued his election campaign and each day he had to stop work at 6pm to rest. 'I believe there were several reasons why this Aids infection came about,' he said. 'First of all, there is a structure within society that permits such things to occur, but I think it goes much deeper than that. I think we have a society now in which economic profits are placed before human lives and human rights - and I would very much like to change this kind of society.' Mr Kawada, who takes four different medications each day to remain alive, ran as an independent in the fiercely fought Tokyo electoral district, winning 35,000 votes. But now, he said, the real work starts. 'It is not only HIV/Aids patients who have suffered from the past actions of the government,' he said. 'I feel very strongly that there needs to be a much more thorough investigation of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This is the ministry that is also responsible for citizens who have been adversely affected by Tamiflu [flu drug] and there have been recent court cases addressing its responsibility for the spread of hepatitis C - again through contaminated blood products.' It was these same bureaucrats who were also to blame for the discovery earlier this year that some 50 million pension records had been mislaid, Mr Kawada said. 'I very much want to change a system and society that permits such problems to crop up repeatedly,' he said. 'I feel there is a great mistrust of politics and the political system in Japan and I want to win back the trust of the people. These are the things that I kept emphasising in my campaign; I think it is because of these reasons that I was elected.' Mr Kawada is actually following in the footsteps of his mother, Etsuko, who served in the Lower House for three years from 2000, but who opposed her son running out of fear that a busy schedule could endanger his health. Mrs Kawada won huge recognition on the day that Green Cross called a press conference to admit it had known the blood products were unsafe, ordering the executives to apologise on their knees. They did so. Mr Kawada's other ambitions in government include ensuring all Japanese are able to receive free medical treatment and pensions, that people can find jobs or get assistance to find work, that the constitution remains intact and that the legal system operates effectively. One of his priorities is to stamp out the practice of amakudari, (literally meaning descent from heaven), in which newly retired bureaucrats take high-paying jobs at companies they had overseen - a system critics say is open to abuse. 'This year, I turned 31 years old,' Mr Kawada said. 'Many years ago, I never thought I would live to see this age. That I am alive today is due to the fact that I have received so much help and support from so many people. 'It's a wonderful thing to be alive, but it's not enough for me alone to be happy and alive. 'It's not good enough that only I can receive treatment. I want a society in which everyone is able to lead a happy life and to feel glad to be alive.'