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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 22 - 28  > Occupational bladder cancer eligible for worker's compensation
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2018 August 22 - 28 [LABOR]

Occupational bladder cancer eligible for worker's compensation

August 23, 2018

Local labor inspectors on August 21 confirmed that the bladder cancer of a former chemical factory worker who had handled a cancer-causing material is eligible for workman's compensation.

The former worker worked at Tokushima factory of New Japan Chemical Co., Ltd. in o-toluidine manufacturing operations. In 2016, he developed bladder cancer, underwent surgery, and applied for workman's accident compensation with the Tokushima Labor Standards Inspection Office.

Several retired employees who had worked at the same factory early last year organized a group tackling o-toluidine induced cancer, seeking preventive healthcare measures as well as early recognition that their cancers were work-related.

In regard to o-toluidine, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Koike Akira at the Diet in May 2016 demanded that the bladder cancer of Mitsuboshi Chemical's Fukui factory workers be recognized as work-related, and that the government conduct fact-finding surveys on worksites handling chemicals.

In response to Koike's demand, the Ministry of Labor for the first time decided that seven Fukui factory workers suffering from bladder cancer caused by o-toluidine are eligible for workman's compensation.

As for New Japan Chemical as well, Koike has demanded that the labor authorities swiftly recognize bladder cancer attributable to its chemical factory as work-related by stating that the causal link between the occupation and the cancer is proven.

Kawakami Kenji who heads the group struggling with occupational bladder cancer said in an Akahata interview, "We really thank Koike for his efforts. As we were never given any information from the company about the risk of bladder cancer, we have been worried about if and when we will develop the cancer. We believe all occupational cancers need to be eradicated."

According to the Labor Ministry, more than 1,000 people who handle o-toluidine had special health checkups last year. It is possible that some examinees were diagnosed with bladder cancer.
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