Dozens of plaintiffs waging an air-pollution lawsuit will appeal a recent ruling that denies them compensation over health problems they claim were triggered by vehicle exhaust fumes, a lawyer and one of the plaintiffs said Monday.
The plaintiffs also voiced dissatisfaction that the Tokyo District Court ruling holds the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corp. accountable for part of the air pollution — and clears seven automakers named in the suit of any responsibility.
During appeal proceedings, all 99 plaintiffs will demand damages from the national government, the highway body, and the seven automakers, they said.
Five plaintiffs who won their case to receive damages from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will not issue any further claims. The other 94 will seek compensation from the metropolitan government.
The national government said last week it will appeal the ruling, which states that a total of 79.2 million yen in damages should be paid to seven Tokyo residents living within 50 meters of trunk roads and expressways.
The court ordered the metropolitan government to pay damages to five of the seven people.
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has said the metropolitan government will not appeal the ruling.
Takao Nishimura, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, said the ruling is limited in terms of the scope of help it provides for the victims. He remarked that the plaintiffs appreciate the metropolitan government’s decision not to appeal the ruling.
Ishihara has said the national government and automakers are responsible for the air pollution. He met Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last week in an effort to persuade the national government to share this position.
Nishimura said, however, that Tokyo should take further action to halt the construction of trunk expressways and to reduce the overall number of automobiles that emit harmful substances into the air, Nishimura said.
“We want to win a court order to rescue (the plaintiffs) in six months to one year,” he said.
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