Last month, the Japanese government proposed a settlement to the family of an Okinawa man who passed away after being exposed to asbestos on a U.S. base. This marks the 2nd asbestos lawsuit in which the government paid a settlement to a victim of asbestos exposure.
Per the complaint filed by the victim’s loved ones, the victim, whose name was not made public, worked for the U.S. in 1961 as a mechanic and inspector of appliances located on bases in Okinawa. From the start of his employment until 1975, he was continuously exposed to asbestos while stripping down refrigerator and air conditioning insulation. In 2010, he died of lung cancer that was caused by asbestos exposure.
During the settlement, the Japanese government readily admitted that they had and employer-employee relationship with the victim for a little over three year, and part of the settlement agreement indicates that Japan is responsible for the health and safety of their workers even when they were employed on United States bases. As a result, the victim’s family received $18.75 million in damages.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned case is one of the many instances of asbestos exposure on U.S. bases in Okinawa. A recent study performed by the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry states that 28 people who worked at U.S. bases in Okinawa have developed asbestos-related diseases. 21 of these people have since passed away due to their illnesses. A total of 14 victims developed lung cancer, another 3 people developed asbestosis, while 2 others developed malignant mesothelioma. Yet, this number only represents the people who have been officially diagnosed and recognized as victims of asbestos-related diseases. The actual amount of people who are suffering from these types of illnesses in Okinawa is much higher.
Consequently, as with the United States, an influx of asbestos lawsuits are surfacing in Japan. Along with a $64 million class action lawsuit filed by construction workers against the Japanese government and several companies, there are a myriad of additional lawsuits being filed in Japan. Almost all of the victims were unaware of the dangers caused by asbestos inhalation and ingestion.
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos due the negligence and careless of another party, such as an asbestos manufacturer or company that provided asbestos to your workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. Our leading mesothelioma lawyers are available to assist you and help you understand your legal rights and options. For more information, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.