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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 December 11 - 17  > Pollution-induced disease patients call for continuation of free medical care
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2013 December 11 - 17 [WELFARE]

Pollution-induced disease patients call for continuation of free medical care

December 12, 2013
Asthma patients and their families on December 11 staged sit-ins to urge the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Toyota Motor to maintain the current free medical program for sufferers from asthma caused by air pollution.

This medical program was established after a 11-year-long court struggle by the patients in August 2008 with expenses to be paid by the national and metropolitan governments and the seven motor companies responsible for the air pollution. The program was set to be revised five years after its launch.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government in an assembly meeting on December 5 announced that it will stop accepting applications for the program in March 2015 and have the patients shoulder 20% of their medical costs. This announcement has provoked anger among the asthma patients and their families.

At the sit-in in front of the Toyota Motor Tokyo headquarters building, Shindo Mitsuko, a 69-year-old woman living in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, using a microphone said that her daughter, 41, has been suffering from asthma since she was one year old.

Shindo said that if her daughter has to pay 20% of medical costs, she would have to reduce her hospital visits and thus her condition could deteriorate. Toyota should understand the patients’ economic situations and contribute funds for the medical fee exemption system, she added.

The patients’ group submitted a written request to Toyota President Toyoda Akio urging that motor companies should make contributions to maintain the medical subsidy system.

Related past article
> Tokyo air pollution suit officially ends [August 9, 2007]
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