The Osaka High Court ruled on Wednesday that the government was responsible for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure and ordered a compensation of 340 million yen in damages. This was the first time that a high court has held the government liable in a lawsuit involving asbestos exposure.
The case was filed by 58 plaintiffs which includes former asbestos spinning mill workers who worked in southern Osaka. They claim that the government was not able to quickly implement anti-asbestos measures which contributed to some of the workers diseases. 33 of the plaintiffs, who worked in the factories between 1947 and 1999, are now suffering from either asbestosis or lung cancer. Sadly, some of them already passed away before the decision was reached. The Osaka District Court‘s earlier ruling in March 2012 only gave 180 million yen to the plaintiffs and the high court awarded them nearly twice as much.
In a separate asbestos case involving Osaka factories, the High Court, in August 2011, reversed the ruling of a district court, that also held the government responsible for the plaintiffs’ asbestos exposure. The case is still pending in the Supreme Court. A little more than a year ago, a Tokyo District Court also ruled that the government and 43 companies neglected their responsibilities in implementing safety measures against the deadly material. The court ordered them to pay 1.06 billion yen to 337 plaintiffs, instead of the 12 billion yen the representatives of the victims were asking for.
[ via Kyodo ]
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