Nagoya air-pollution suit settled out of court in plaintiffs' victory

A 12-year lawsuit over air pollution from factory and car-exhaust gas in
southern Nagoya reached an agreement in a plaintiffs' victory on August 6,
with the out-of-court settlement formally established on August 8.

The state promised to take measures against air pollution, and ten
corporations, including the Chubu Electric Power Co., promised to pay
settlement money and disclose information about air pollution.

The settlement is based on and has advanced further the Nagoya District
Court ruling in November 2000 ordering an end to public pollution. For the
first time in 12 years after the suit was filed in March 1989, air pollution
disease patients reached simultaneous settlement with the state and
polluting corporations.

The state promised to take environmental measures including steps to
reduce exhaust gas emissions, and the plaintiffs gave up their claim for
compensation by the state. The corporations promised to pay 1.52 billion yen
(12 million dollars) to 263 people (some deceased) as money for settlement.
They also promised to revise their pollution-preventive agreements with
Nagoya City to increase their effectiveness with free information.

Akahata on August 7 commented on the settlement as a "new step in the
struggle to regain a blue sky." It said that a movement is necessary to get
the state to recognize its mistake of deregulating road administration in
1988, claiming that public pollution had ended. The movement should also
task the polluting corporations to take steps to prevent air pollution and
preserve the environment, Akahata said. (end)