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Japanese workers with cancer named disaster victims

Published By United Press International
TOKYO, June 14 (UPI) -- The Japanese government has recognized three longtime printing industry workers who contracted bile duct cancer on the job as workplace disaster victims.

The Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry notified local labor bureaus Thursday it had ruled three employees, two in Miyagi prefecture and one in Aichi prefecture, as the first cases to receive the designation outside Osaka where 17 workers have received the disaster victim designation, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

The newspaper said the Aichi prefecture victim, a man in his 40s who worked in a plant starting in 1984, was determined to have gotten cancer from exposure to dichloromethane, the first time that chemical has been cited as a cause in a workplace disaster case.

The ministry said one of the Miyagi workers is in his 30s and the other in his 40s. They had been exposed to 1,2-dichloropropane for about 16 years, starting in 1995.

"I'm relieved, but my health will never return to normal, and I am still angry," the Aichi man said.

The Mainichi Shimbun said as of the end of May, 72 people had sought to have their bile duct cancer recognized as work-related.
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