YOKKAICHI, MIE PREF. - Yukikazu Noda, who was the only surviving plaintiff in one of four major pollution lawsuits in Japan, died of bronchial asthma at a home for the elderly in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, on Friday. He was 87.
In September 1967, Noda, a Mie native, and eight other asthma patients filed a damages suit against six companies claiming that sulfurous acidic gas emitted from their factories at a newly built petrochemical complex in Yokkaichi had caused their illnesses.
In July 1972, the Yokkaichi branch of Tsu District Court found the firms responsible and ordered them to pay compensation. The ruling became final.
Noda had been raising awareness about the Yokkaichi’s air pollution problems, a by-product of the country’s economic growth, since around 2000.