Japan’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to pay more than 22 million dollars (£16.2m) in compensation to former construction workers who developed lung diseases caused by asbestos.
The ruling is the first holding the government responsible in lawsuits filed by former construction workers and bereaved families. The plaintiffs say former workers developed lung cancer and other illnesses after inhaling asbestos at construction sites. They have demanded that the state and manufacturers of the materials pay damages.
The award to a group of about 350 workers was first made by a court two years go. The Supreme Court rejected the government’s appeal in December. The ruling also acknowledged the government’s responsibility for health problems developed by self-employed construction workers, but dismissed a call for the compensation to be increased.
An appeal by the former construction workers regarding a Tokyo High Court ruling that asbestos product manufacturers were not liable will be heard on 25 February 2021.