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Pollution victims take mass action for government relief

About 1,000 pollution victims, their family members, and supporters on June 6 made representations to the government calling for the eradication of pollution and relief for the victims.

The participants in the nationwide concerted action of pollution victims that marked the 30th anniversary this year submitted to the Environmental Ministry about 60,000 signatures for petition calling for the elimination of pollution and staged a demonstration around the ministry building.

In the representations to the Environmental vice minister, Yoshizawa Yoshie, a 65-year-old plaintiff of a Tokyo air pollution lawsuit, said, "Living next to a busy road, I have been suffering from bronchial asthma because of the exposure to car emissions every day. Unable to breath, I even became unconscious. When I was pregnant, I was hovering between life and death and had to give up my baby."

Hayashida Mieko, a 69-year-old Minamata disease patient living in Kumamoto Prefecture, said, "Suffering from pricking pain, I've been living in dread of dying."

Minamata disease was caused by organic mercury contained in the waste water discharged into Minamata Bay by the Chisso Corporation.

A lawyer in a lawsuit filed by Kanemi cooking oil poisoning victims demanded that the government take relief measures for the victims who are still suffering from the poisoning that occurred 38 years ago.

Kanemi cooking oil poisoning, the worst ever food poisoning incident, was caused by the PCB contaminated cooking oil produced by Kanemi Soko Co.
- Akahata, June 7, 2006

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