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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 May 23 - 29  > District court rejects asbestos victims’ demand for damages
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2012 May 23 - 29 [WELFARE]

District court rejects asbestos victims’ demand for damages

May 26, 2012
The Yokohama District Court on May 25 unfairly exempted the state and 44 building-materials makers from assuming responsibility for health damages arising from asbestos exposure in a lawsuit filed by 87 construction workers suffering from asbestos-induced diseases and victims’ families.

The plaintiffs claimed that the government had designated construction products containing asbestos as fire-resistant materials under the Building Standards Act, despite being aware of the danger of asbestos.

The court judged that the state had given no orders to the manufacturers to use asbestos in their products, but pointed out that the state may have encouraged these makers to use the products in question.

On the other hand, the court requested the government to consider improving the law concerning damages from asbestos and creating a compensation system.

“I am very disappointed,” said Itou Tadao, 74, one of the plaintiffs. He had sprayed many buildings with asbestos as a painter for more than 50 years since the age of 16. He was diagnosed with pulmonary emphysema 15 years ago, and has had to wear an oxygen mask while sleeping since 3 years ago.

“If the government had prohibited companies from using such materials containing asbestos, I would not have suffered from this illness,” he added.

At a press conference following the judgement, the plaintiffs and their counsel proclaimed their intent to take the case to a higher court.
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