In Osaka, Japan, the surviving family of a man who died from an asbestos-related lung cancer is suing the man’s former employer. The family, whose name has not yet been revealed in the press, is suing the Osaka-based fire-protection equipment dealer Kansai Hochiki Engineering, where the deceased worked for two decades as a maintenance engineer for fire alarms.
The family claims that the deceased was exposed to asbestos on the job, and that the company failed to adequately protect their employee. Asbestos exposure is conclusively linked to the development of many kinds of pulmonary diseases, ranging from lung cancer to asbestosis to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that can affect the lungs as well as other organs in the body.
While there are palliative treatment methods available, including chemo, there is no known cure for mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring silicate mineral that was used for many decades in building materials like floor tiles, ceiling tiles, insulation, and fireproofing materials.
The victim’s family accuses the employer of neglecting worker safety by allowing the man to work with asbestos in small, confined spaces that were poorly ventilated. The man was diagnosed with lung cancer caused by asbestos in 2005, and in 2007 the case was officially designated a work-related illness.
The family is seeking 60 million yen in compensation, which is equal to roughly $680,000 in American currency.
"We cannot comment on anything as we have not received a written complaint yet," a company official told reporters.