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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 March 28 - April 3  > Court orders state to compensate for asbestos-induced health claims
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2012 March 28 - April 3 [ENVIRONMENT]

Court orders state to compensate for asbestos-induced health claims

March 29, 2012
The Osaka District Court on March 28 ordered the state to pay 180 million yen in compensation for health claims arising from asbestos, in the second lawsuit filed by 55 plaintiffs including former asbestos plant workers and their families.

The judging stated that it is unacceptable for the government to place more priority on economic development and corporate profits than on workers’ health, and ordered the state to compensate 29 out of 33 health victims.

The court also ruled that it is illegal to fail to observe the old Labor Standards Law requiring the state to oblige asbestos plants, under threat of penalty, to install exhaust systems in the 1960s.

The court recognized a man working in the transport of asbestos as eligible for compensation, the first ruling of its kind, in addition to recognizing the claims of workers in the asbestos spinning and weaving industry.

In a lawsuit filed by the first plaintiffs group, the Osaka District Court in May 2010 held the state responsible for not using its enforcement power to protect workers from the danger of asbestos. The state appealed to a higher court, and the Osaka High Court in August 2011 rejected all claims filed by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs’ bench commented on the district court judgment in the secondary group lawsuit saying that the judgment again holding the state responsible, following the 2010 ruling, is significant.
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