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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a high court ruling that awarded 460 million yen in damages to 15 former miners suffering from pneumoconiosis and the families of seven deceased workers at the now-defunct Iojima Mine in Nagasaki Prefecture.

It was the first top ruling on a pneumoconiosis case in which the plaintiffs had not been recognized by the Labor Disaster Compensation Law because their condition was not deemed serious enough. The plaintiffs had demanded 715 million yen from mine operator Nittetsu Mining Co.

In Thursday’s decision, the Supreme Court dismissed the company’s appeal against a ruling by the Fukuoka High Court, which determined that Nittetsu Mining’s failure to observe required safety measures caused the workers to suffer from the disease.

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