Asbestosis victims seek compensation

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Asbestosis victims seek compensation


Yoko Okada, a Korean resident in Japan, talks about her asbestos lawsuit yesterday while in Seoul. [NEWSIS]

“My father was drafted to Japan when he was 18, and forced to work at the asbestos textile manufacturing company. In 1995, he passed away from lung caner. My mother has been struggling against asbestosis since 1986.”

This remark was made by Yoko Okada, a Korean resident in the Sennan District in Osaka, Japan - which is home to numerous fiber-spinning plants - during a press conference held at the Graduate School of Public Health at Seoul National University Hospital in Jongno District yesterday.

The conference was hosted by the Civil Center of Korea Environment & Health Care to report on cases of Korean residents in Japan who suffered from the effects of asbestos.

Okada herself had to quit working as a nurse when her asbestosis deteriorated in 2006.

“I think I got caught with asbestosis after my mother brought me to the factory with her,” she said, speaking with an oxygen tube in her nose.

The asbestosis victims in Sennan, including Okada, filed a suit against the Japanese government for failing to establish safety measures against asbestosis. The 30 plaintiffs won the first trial in May this year, but the government filed an appeal in June. The appeals trial is under way in the Osaka High Court.

Yuoka Kazuyoshi, a representative for asbestosis victims in Sennan District, said, “There are 300 asbestos factories concentrated in Sennan District, where many of Osaka’s poor live. For the most part, they are the ones doing the asbestos-related work.”

Yuoka added, “More than 90 percent of the workers are impoverished Koreans and the rest are Japanese people who come from poor rural areas.”

By Kang Chan-su []

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