Government to pay 25 million yen to asbestos victim’s family

October 2, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Japanese Government agreed on October 1 to accept terms of settlement by which they pay damages to the family members of a male employee who died from an asbestos-related disease after working on U.S. military bases. Two male employees who worked on U.S. bases before Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty in 1972 died of lung cancer caused by asbestos. Their family members had filed a damage suit against the government. This is the first time that the government has accepted a settlement for damages related to asbestos-related disease in Okinawa.

The government agreed to pay 25 million yen, as the Okinawa Branch of the Naha District Court requested, to the family members of the employee who passed away at 79 years-of-age in 2002.

One of the family members who settled with the government said, “I was worried about this being the first case of its kind in Okinawa, but now I’m happy with the outcome. I hope that other people who might have been exposed to asbestos will also take legal action.”

At the same time, the family members of an employee who died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in his 80s in 2010 have not settled with the government. They intend to continue negotiations. According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, Naoyuki Toyama, because he worked replacing asbestos equipment, the government has acknowledged the causal relationship between the death of the employee and his job on base.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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