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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 30 - June 5  > Victims urge government and automakers to settle air-pollution dispute
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2007 May 30 - June 5 [ENVIRONMENT]

Victims urge government and automakers to settle air-pollution dispute

June 5, 2007
Calling for the eradication of pollution and the relief of victims, about 2,000 people, including asthma and Minamata-disease patients, their families, and supporters took to the streets in Tokyo in the 32nd nationwide concerted action of pollution victims on June 4, one day before World Environment Day.

They marched in demonstration around the Environment Ministry and other government office buildings, chanting, “Give us clean air! War is the biggest environmental destroyer.”

In front of the Tokyo Head Office of Toyota Motor Corporation, a defendant in the Tokyo air pollution lawsuit, they staged a protest rally demanding compensation for their ill health.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit met Environment Minister Wakabayashi Masatoshi and demanded an early settlement of the case. They also requested the minister to set new environmental standards for nano-particles such as diesel exhaust gas, and to create a new system to compensate for medical expenses.

Receiving about 54,000 signatures calling for the eradication of pollution, the environment minister pledged an early settlement of the Tokyo air pollution lawsuit.

On the same day, the plaintiffs revealed that seven defendant automakers had decided to cap the amount of the lump sum in compensation to a few hundred million yen. Toyota Motors, that has led the defendant automakers, suggested that they no longer meet with the plaintiffs.

In air pollution lawsuits in other regions, defendant companies paid five to seven million yen to each plaintiff in lump-sum compensation. In the Tokyo case, if calculating in line with the defendant companies’ proposal, the amount of compensation per plaintiff will be one tenth of that of the other cases.

The plaintiffs at a news conference said, “The defendant-proposed lump-sum in compensation is too low for us to accept. Toyota and other automakers are trying to sabotage any negotiations for settlement,” and announced that they will stage an open-ended sit-in protest in front of the Toyota Head Office.
- Akahata, June 5, 2007
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