Government, Firms Held Responsible for Asbestos Damage (News)


Yokohama, Oct. 24 (Jiji Press)—The Yokohama District Court on Tuesday ordered the Japanese government and two construction materials makers to pay a total of ¥306 million in damages over health problems caused by asbestos.

Judge Ōtake Yūko, who presided over the lawsuit at the court in Yokohama, said that the state failed to put proper asbestos regulations into place and that the two firms neglected their duty to indicate asbestos use in their products.

In the suit, 61 former construction workers and bereaved relatives demanded damages totaling some ¥1.7 billion yen from the state and 43 construction materials manufacturers, claiming that the workers developed lung cancer or other diseases after inhaling the toxic substance at construction sites.

Ōtake said that the government recognized the danger of asbestos by 1974 at the latest, adding that companies have been obligated since 1976 to put warnings on the wrapping or packaging materials for their products containing asbestos.

The judge pointed out that damages can be granted in cases in which asbestos made by a particular company is strongly suspected to be the cause of health damage.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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