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The national government will appeal a court ruling that it compensate some Tokyo residents living near major roads for health problems from air pollution, Environment Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Friday.

“The ruling linking asthma and air pollution is problematic as it differs from the government position (which denies there is a correlation),” Suzuki said at a news conference.

Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Chikage Ogi also criticized the ruling at a separate conference.

“If we build roads foreseeing health problems from them,” she said, “it means we would not be able to build 1 meter of road.”

On Oct. 29, the Tokyo District Court ordered the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corp. to pay a combined 79.2 million yen to seven of 99 plaintiffs who live less than 50 meters from roads and expressways to compensate them for health problems caused by air pollution.

The court rejected their claim against seven major automakers.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has said the metropolitan government will not appeal the decision.

On Friday, he criticized the decision by the national government to appeal.

“(The appeal) based on the argument that there is no proof of the link (between pollution and the health problem) is absolutely contradictory” to the country’s past policies of pollution control, he told a regularly scheduled news conference.

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