Patients hold anti-pollution campaign

The 30th anti-pollution action was held on June 9 - 10. Participants, including pollution victims, visited government agencies and marched in demonstration through the administrative district of Tokyo.

Calling for the "elimination of pollution and increase in environmental protection" along with relief measures for victims of all kinds of pollution and an improvement of the environmental pollution damage compensation law, they submitted 53,592 signatures in support of their call to Senior Vice Minister of the Environment Takano Hiroshi.

Shigeno Yoshio, sub-leader of the plaintiffs' group in the Tokyo Air Pollution Lawsuit, said, "Air pollution caused by car exhaust in Tokyo is serious. Asthma patients without government relief benefits have hard times as they are forced to shoulder high medical costs." He submitted about 190,000 signatures to the Tokyo District Court, calling for a court ruling that automakers are responsible for air pollution and that government take comprehensive relief measures.

The court will conclude their examination of this case later this year.

Sufferers of Minamata mercury poisoning visited the Ministry of Environment to meet Minister Koike Yuriko to request across-the-board relief measures. They pointed out that the present measures do not cover all victims even after the Supreme Court acknowledged the government responsibility in October 2004.

Asthma patients also demanded that the Ministry of Environment impose exhaust emission controls and offer relief to the victims.

Later in the day, about 2,500 participants held a rally in Hibiya Public Hall and Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi and other JCP Dietmembers sent messages in support of the anti-pollution activity. - Akahata, June 10, 2005

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