A group of construction workers and relatives of those who have died filed an appeal Friday against the Tokyo District Court’s decision to award them 69.3 million yen in damages for pneumoconiosis contracted during state-backed tunnel projects, demanding the government adopt stricter controls to prevent similar oversights.
Toshitaka Onodera, chief lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he and his clients think the July 7 decision was basically in their favor but were upset that some of their demands were turned down.
“We had no other choice but to go to a higher court in anger and in protest over the government’s filing of an appeal,” the lawyer said.
On July 7, the Tokyo District Court found the state responsible for failing to take measures to prevent construction workers from contracting pneumoconiosis at government-financed tunnel-building sites and ordered the state to compensate 44 of the 49 plaintiffs.
But the government filed an appeal with the Tokyo High Court on Wednesday, the same day it appealed a similar decision by the Kumamoto District Court on July 13 that warded 260 million yen to 130 out of 156 pneumoconiosis victims.
The plaintiffs’ leader in the Tokyo suit, Tomoe Funayama, accused the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the key defendant in the suit, of neglecting its duty to protect workers’ lives.
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