Why Did the Asbestos Disaster Spread?

  • Takehiko Murayama
  • Yuji Natori


A historical review of the asbestos issue in Japan indicates that the social application of medical knowledge, the activities of governments and industries, the economic advantage of asbestos products in the short term, and the knowledge gap among stakeholders are the four factors which caused the asbestos disaster to spread in Japan. While some experts reported that the Japanese society needed asbestos products for modernization, nonasbestos products originally existed in many fields before asbestos products were developed. It is rational to recognize that asbestos products were over-used, and its use should at least have been limited. Asbestos products are still being used in developing countries where medical knowledge is not widely shared, and some Asian countries have increased their amounts of asbestos consumption in recent years. Some companies in Western countries, and national governments which have asbestos mines, encourage the diffusion of asbestos products among Asian countries. Such behavior, based on the knowledge gap, will be seen as criminal in future generations.


Occupational Health International Labour Organization Japanese Government Foreign Company Asbestos Exposure 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and EngineeringWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Asbestos CenterTokyoJapan

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