Global Asbestos Congress 2004

Asbestos Related Lung Cancer: After Losing My Husband

Kazuko Furukawa
Japan Association of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related-Diseases Victims and Their Families, Japan

Almost four years have gone by since my husband passed away. He and I did not understand the cause of his disease. He was exposed to asbestos at power stations where he worked as a welder. Several decades later, he began suffering from lung cancer and died.

After his death, I began assisting other victims of asbestos related diseases in need of workers' accident compensation insurance, the same way my husband and myself were also helped by various people when we struggled with the illness. Now, it is my turn to help sufferers together with my husband in Heaven. It is my wish to share the victims' feelings, such as sadness, disappointment and loneliness, and bring them succor and assistance.

Asbestos related diseases destroy workers' lives. After working hard for several decades, they suddenly find out about their terrible physical condition. Then, the lifestyles of workers and their families have to undergo a complete change. They, the victims, are disappointed and angry when they recognize the reason for their sickness: my husband's job was the reason!

I often feel sad and tired when I lose friends who called me about their disease. Like my husband, they express feelings such as "Why I am struggling with this disease?" "If the Government or my company knew that asbestos was a carcinogen, I could never ever forgive them."

Everyone has a right to live. But, how about us victims? Companies that violate our rights and just seek their own profits should compensate victims. Also, the Government should start rescuing victims immediately. For this purpose, I listen to as many victims as possible and relay their suffering to the public.