Tokyo High Court Hears Long-Running Pollution Case

In the latest development in a seven-year court case, the Tokyo High Court yesterday began hearing a lawsuit that accuses the Japanese government, the Tokyo metropolitan government, the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation, and several diesel-vehicle manufacturers of endangering the health of the city’s citizens by failing to stem automobile pollution. The lawsuit features 99 plaintiffs who suffer from respiratory ailments or lost family members to pollution-related illnesses. They say the defendants in the case failed to institute regulations and technology to control the city’s pollution problems. Three similar lawsuits involving the same defendants bring the total number of plaintiffs to 518. One of those, Yoshii Nakayama, who suffers from severe asthma said, “I took all bad things in life as fate, but this one isn’t fate. There is clearly a cause to my disease.”