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The government plans to release the names of more companies that have handled asbestos, according to government sources.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry are acting in response to reports of asbestos-related health problems and have already has released the names of 89 companies handling asbestos, the sources said.

The ministries are expected to release the names of the additional asbestos-related companies to encourage former and current employees to get medical checkups, the sources said.

Exposure to the mineral fiber causes serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and incurable form of cancer.

The sources said METI also will urge asbestos-related firms to consider offering compensation to the sick employees’ families as they are secondary asbestos victims.

The health ministry has created a list of companies that have handled asbestos from workers’ accident compensation claims and has compiled steps to prevent the spread of asbestos and other dangerous substances.

METI plans to release the names of producers of asbestos products and processing companies, the sources said.

It is asking companies producing asbestos-based goods and subcontractors to report the number of employees made sick from asbestos.

Recently, a number of firms have revealed that hundreds of workers have died from asbestos-related diseases over the past few decades.

Experts warn that the deaths reported so far are just the tip of the iceberg and the government’s delay in completely banning asbestos is unnecessarily continuing the public’s exposure to the toxic fibers.

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