Tailpipe row

 
Published: Friday 31 October 2003

The Tokyo High Court has begun hearing a seven-year-old air pollution case that targets the Japanese authorities for putting at risk the health of the capital city's residents by not introducing regulations and technology to curb vehicular emissions.

Among those blamed for the situation coming to such a pass are the national government, Tokyo metropolitan government, Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation and several manufacturers of diesel vehicles. The automakers have been accused of not installing pollution-prevention devices in their domestic products, even as the vehicles being exported are so equipped.

Ninety-nine plaintiffs, who either suffer from respiratory ailments themselves or have lost family members to pollution-related maladies, had filed the case in 1996. Three similar lawsuits against the same defendants are also in court, taking the number of plaintiffs to 518 and the total compensation claim to US $20.19 million.

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