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Japan study finds chimneys at 227 public schools at risk for scattering asbestos

JIJI

Japan has 227 public kindergartens, elementary, junior high and high schools with aging chimneys that could scatter asbestos, an education ministry survey showed Tuesday.

The total number of chimneys using asbestos for heat insulation was 275 at institutions in 14 prefectures, according to the fiscal 2016 survey.

The ministry told local governments to take measures to address the problem.

The ministry’s second such survey, following one in fiscal 2014, covered 127,827 educational facilities, including public, national and private schools, as well as community centers and gymnasiums.

The survey checked whether the facilities used asbestos in chimneys and if so, how much damage and degradation were seen as of Oct. 1 last year.

According to the survey, 482 chimneys at 370 facilities, or 0.3 percent of the total, were at risk of spreading asbestos because of damage or deterioration.

Of the total, 227 public schools had chimneys that could disperse asbestos, with the same problem discovered at 47 private schools, 17 national schools, 38 social educational facilities and 21 gymnasiums.

With 116 counted, Hokkaido had the most problem chimneys, followed by Ishikawa Prefecture (34) and Tokyo (22).