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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 29 - February 4  > Air pollution victims stage sit-in to push Toyota to work to create relief system
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2020 January 29 - February 4 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Air pollution victims stage sit-in to push Toyota to work to create relief system

January 31, 2020
Air pollution victims on January 30 staged a sit-in in front of Toyota Motor’s Tokyo headquarters in order to urge the automaker to provide funds for establishing a system that provides various support to patients of asthma and other diseases caused by the exhaust from cars, buses, and trucks.

This action was organized by a national organization of air pollution victims, the Japan Air Pollution Victims’ Association. Individuals who have health problems due to vehicular emissions in February 2019 formed a group to bring their case to the state board of arbitration. They demanded that the national government create a financial support program for the medical treatment of air pollution victims and that seven major car makers, including Toyota, shoulder part of the cost for this program.

While there are sufferers of air pollution-induced illness across the nation, few local governments provide subsidies to support their medical expenses. Tokyo was one of the rare exceptions, but it stopped accepting applications for financial assistance in March 2015.

The sit-in was joined by 150 people, including asthma sufferers noting that a heavily trafficked expressway can be seen in front of the protesters, Akimoto Masao, who is a member of the air pollution victims’ association, said, “Toyota should understand why asthma patients are braving car exhaust today to carry out the protest action. The car giant has a social responsibility to work to implement financial support program for the victims.”

Ishikawa Makiko, who heads the group that applied for government mediation last year, stressed that asthma patients suffer from the air pollution and the heavy financial burden of medical bills.

Protestors attempted to hand in a written request to the Toyota president, but the company refused to accept it.

Past related articles:
> Air pollution victims file request for state subsidy for medical expenses [February 19, 2019]
> Pollution-induced disease patients call for continuation of free medical care [December 12, 2013]
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