Japanese Court Finds Construction Materials Makers Liable for Failure to Warn About Asbestos Exposure

On January 29, 2016, the Kyoto District Court held that nine companies must pay 112 million yen in damages for selling materials without warning that they contained asbestos. Presiding Judge Kazumi Higa further ordered the government to pay 104 million yen for its failure to take preventative measures.

This lawsuit arose when a former construction worker filed a claim for damages for the lung cancer and mesothelioma contracted by inhaling asbestos at construction sites.  He demanded a payment of about one billion yen from the government and 32 construction materials makers. This marks the first time that construction materials makers have been found liable for health problems that relate to asbestos exposure.