Lessons from Yokkaichi Pollution Passed On 50 Yrs after Ruling

Society Lifestyle

Yokkaichi, Mie Pref., July 24 (Jiji Press)--As Sunday marks 50 years since a major court ruling for damages payments over air pollution in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, central Japan, people affected are continuing activities to pass on the lessons of the pollution to future generations.

On July 24, 1972, a court found that sulfurous acid gas emitted from a petrochemical complex in the city triggered asthma, ordering companies responsible to pay damages totaling 88 million yen to plaintiffs. The Yokkaichi asthma is known as one of the four big pollution diseases in Japan.

"We must never let it happen again," Teruko Tanida, 87, who lost her 9-year-old daughter Naoko due to the so-called Yokkaichi asthma, said.

Tanida engages in activities to spread the lessons of the pollution as a "kataribe" storyteller.

Tanida lived about 2 kilometers from a factory complex that began operations in 1963. Naoko was a kindergarten student at the time. "She would cough at night, and all I could do is rub her back as she lay facing down in bed," Tanida said of the daughter. "She stopped eating and lost weight."

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Jiji Press