Global Asbestos Congress 2004

Domestic Exposure Case of Cement Pipe Worker's Son in Saitama

Hiroko Murakami
Japan Eternit Pipe Branch, General Workers' Union, Tokyo, National Trade Union Council, Japan

In May 25, 2004, we lost a lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court. That was the result, three years and three months after the case was filed. The District Court accepted the claims of the company which did not bring forth any witnesses. It did not admit evidence that the plaintiff's son suffered from mesothelioma and said the company could not have foreseen mesothelioma could result. The case is now before the Appeals Court.

If we lose the case again, what will happen? Please think about that at the Asbestos Conference. How many asbestos victims have been shrouded in darkness? As the plaintiff in the first domestic asbestos exposure case in Japan, I would like to say that our case was one waiting to happen and should be the last. We were forced to handle asbestos without receiving information that it is a hazardous material. As a result, so many people became victims of occupational hazards. The production of asbestos cement pipes was stopped due to a sudden withdrawal of capital, and the corporate labor union was dissolved after many employees were dismissed. The company dismissed employees taking sick leave for occupational diseases and violated the Labor Standard Law by attacking the labor union that applied for workers' compensation. Please give your support to our battle.