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Home > Outline of Japan's Industrial Pollution Abatement > Preventative Measures Against Water Pollution Jinzu River, Toyama Prefecture > 3) Itai-itai disease in court

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Update:April 1, 2010

3) Itai-itai disease in court


Two months before the Ministry or Health and Welfare announced their official view or the disease, in March 1968, 9 victims and 20 surviving relative of lost victims (total of 29 plaintiffs) brought their demand for compensation against Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co., Ltd. to the Toyama Prefectural court.
After 36 oral proceedings (the first being in May 1968) and 4 on-site inspections, the court decided in favor of the plaintiffs, in June 1971. This was by far tops of the 4 big pollution-related trials at the time. Nevertheless, dissatisfied with the outcome, Mitsui Mining and Smelting appealed their case to the Nagoya Supreme Court in Kanazawa, but their appeal was denied in August 1972 and the ruling stood as before in favor of the plaintiffs.
In any case, after the ruling was handed down, Mitsui Mining and Smelting had reached an offhand agreement on pollution prevention with the council representing the plaintiffs in the case, whereby they recognized cadmium as the cause of the itai-itai disease and promised to pay reparations for damages as well as to take measures to ensure such pollution would never occur again. Futhermore, in 1973, an agreement was concluded on the medical care for victims, This agreement was based on preventing the reoccurrence of pollution. It was highly praised for the cooperative system it promoted between the victim and the aggressor as a means to preventing pollution. It clearly spelled out the right of the local people to directly monitor the pollution-generating source, which included witnessed inspections made by the local residents and greater disclosure of technical data on the part of the company.