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A group of 72 former tunnel workers and family members of workers who have died joined about 180 others from two other groups Wednesday to demand a total of 2.3 billion yen in damages from their employers for a work-related lung disease.

In suits filed with district courts in Niigata, Maebashi, Nagano, Hiroshima and Kagoshima, the plaintiffs are seeking 33 million yen in damages for each plaintiff from 58 construction companies. The tunnel workers claim the companies failed to take adequate measures to protect them from exposure to particles thrown up during tunnel construction that cause “black lung” disease.

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