OSAKA – The Osaka arm of the labor ministry said Wednesday that 16 current and former employees of a printing company are eligible for workers’ compensation on the grounds that they contracted bile duct cancer while on the job.
It is the first decision of its kind for this type of illness.
Another 48 people, including former workers at Osaka-based Sanyo-CYP Co. and other people with cancer in Miyagi and Fukuoka prefectures, are seeking compensation because they contracted cancer after being exposed to toxic chemicals at printing companies.
The Osaka Labor Bureau notified the cancer patients, who are working or worked at Sanyo-CYP, and relatives of victims who have died, that they will be compensated. Seven of the 16 Osaka claimants have died, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
The move by the labor bureau came after a labor ministry panel said March 14 that the employees of Sanyo-CYP should receive workers’ compensation due to the high likelihood they contracted the cancer through contact with the substance 1,2-dichloropropane used in their workplace.
The panel will also examine the applications of the 48 other claimants.
Former Sanyo-CYP employee Shingo Honda, 31, welcomed the news. “It’s good that the cause of my and other patients’ illness has been clarified,” Honda said while expressing regret he can no longer get his health back.
“It was probably easy for the Osaka bureau to make the decision because the number of compensation claimants was high in the city,” said Shinji Kumagai, an expert at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan.
He added that a way should be found to help workers in cases where just one or two workers fall sick at a single company.
Cancer info bill readied
Major political parties are preparing to submit a bill to the Diet aimed at allowing the central government to manage information on cancer patients nationwide as part of efforts to improve treatment, lawmakers said Wednesday.
The draft bill’s outline calls for obliging hospitals to provide information to respective prefectural governments about such patients, including their name, date of birth, location of cancer and treatment method, without their consent.
The prefectures would then provide the information for a database to be set up at the National Cancer Center, they said.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner, New Komeito, and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan intend to submit the bill to the ongoing Diet session scheduled through June, party members said.