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JCP proposes outline of a bill to relieve asbestos victims

To deal with the widespread health problems such as mesothelioma and lung cancer caused by the construction material asbestos among workers, their families, and residents near plants, the Japanese Communist Party has published an outline of a draft bill on special measures against damage from asbestos.

At a news conference on August 31 in Wakayama City, JCP Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said that the measures the government decided on August 26 to relieve asbestos victims fail to define the scale and standards for compensation. He stated that both the polluter companies and the government are to blame, the former for producing and using enormous quantities of asbestos without adequate safety measures, and the latter for condoning its use with the knowledge of its danger.

The JCP proposal says:

- The aim of the law should be to protect and relieve all asbestos-related health victims.

- Costs for medical treatment should be guaranteed on the same level as those under work-related accident compensation and the public pollution relief system.

- Effective measures for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment should be established.

- A general ban on the production and use of asbestos be declared as soon as possible.

- Polluter companies and the state should share the costs for the relief of victims.

- Damage to workers, families and neighboring residents needs to be recognized.

- The government should carry out on-the-spot investigations and publish the findings.

Ichida said that the JCP took up the asbestos issue in the 1970s, and the outline is based on the party's surveys of the situation. -- Akahata, September 1, 2005

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