International Asbestos Conference For Fair And Equal Compensation For All Asbestos Victims And Their Families

Table of Contents

Introduction
Session 1: Current Status Of Asbestos-Related Diseases In Japan
Session 2: Asbestos Compensation In Europe
Session 3: International Asbestos Issues: Epidemiology, Legislation and Victims' Rights
Session 4: Taking Action On Japan's Epidemic Of Asbestos-Related Diseases
Session 5: Non-Occupational And Environmental Asbestos Exposures
Session 6: Question & Answer Session
Session 7: Concluding Thoughts
Appendix

Introduction

On November 23-24, 2007, a conference was held at the Annex Hall of the Pacifi co Conference Center in Yokohama, Japan. Organized by the Ban Asbestos Network Japan (BANJAN), the purpose of this well attended event was to compare national schemes in Europe and Asia and identify measures which were effective in providing equitable compensation for asbestos sufferers and their families. Most conference delegates were not surprised by revelations that wherever government schemes are imposed to resolve the issue of asbestos compensation, the needs of corporations and governments take precedence over the needs of victims.

The timing of this event was significant as it was chosen to coincide with the 20th anniversary of BANJAN. This landmark anniversary gave a positive tone to the proceedings showing just how much can be accomplished by determined individuals working together. In many of the presentations, speakers underlined the need for cross-border cooperation to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable groups. Having heard several presenters describe the fatal consequences of Japan's asbestos heritage, it seemed inexplicable that most governments in Asia still sanctioned the use of asbestos. The outreach programs, including the ongoing collaboration of Japanese and Korean campaigning groups, were grounds to hope that before too long other Asian governments would follow the example of Japan and Korea and ban asbestos. The provision of simultaneous translations from Japanese to English and vice versa facilitated the exchange of information and enabled discussions to take place.

A photographic exhibition entitled Please Give Us Tomorrow - Records of Asbestos Pollution and Patients and their Families showed the reality of the personal asbestos tragedy being played out in so many households in Japan. The photographer Akira Imai's work is both touching and memorable; standing in room E205 surrounded by the faces of so many asbestos injured people, one could not be in any doubt that behind each statistic is a devastated human being and a grieving family.