Some 750 people who have either been physically harmed by environmental pollution or have lost relatives to pollution-related diseases, gathered for their 25th annual rally Wednesday in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park.

“Pollution should be eradicated by the end of the 20th century,” Junji Nishi, a leading activist against air pollution in Tokyo, told the participants, who included victims of Minamata disease that affected residents of an area in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Hundreds of people died and thousands were disabled or born with disabilities in the 1950s and 1960s after eating seafood contaminated with mercury compounds dumped by Chisso Corp. into Minamata Bay.

The protesters also included victims of air pollution in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, and those of so-called “itai itai disease” caused by cadmium-polluted soil and water in Toyama Prefecture.

Some of the participants met with Environment Agency head Yoriko Kawaguchi at her office and requested further measures for rehabilitation and compensation.

They will call for a series of measures in meetings with other officials of the agency, the Foreign Ministry and the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), organizers said.

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