Mesothelioma Due to Neighborhood Asbestos Exposure: A Large-Scale, Ongoing Disaster Among Residents Living Near a Former Kubota Plant in Amagasaki, Japan

  • Norio KurumataniEmail author
  • Shinji Kumagai


We describe a serious on-going outbreak of asbestos disasters which were uncovered in Japan in 2005 (the Kubota Shock). According to our epidemiological study, around 100 residential mesothelioma cases have been attributed to a single asbestos cement pipe plant. That plant, now closed, was located in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, west of Osaka. It was run by the Kubota Corporation, currently a large machinery company world-wide. A significantly increased risk of developing mesothelioma occurred among residents in the area which extends 2  200 m south south-east and 900 m north north-west from the center of the plant. This is in accordance with the predominant wind direction in the area, which blows from the north north-west. New cases of mesothelioma have continued to arise among residents, with the total number of mesothelioma patients currently near 200. Asbestos has been widely used since the early twentieth century, and therefore many factories world-wide, some of which are now closed, have handled asbestos and asbestos-containing products and may have spread asbestos into the surrounding communities. Mesothelioma develops more than 40 or 50 years after the first asbestos exposure. Public health policy-makers, health professionals, and industry need to recognize the serious health risks associated with the wide areas of neighborhood asbestos exposure in the present and in the future.


Asbestos Exposure Asbestos Fiber Peritoneal Mesothelioma Residential History Residential Distance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The present study was supported by a Grand-in-Aid from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (C No, 18590567, 2006–2007) and Nara Medical University.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, School of MedicineNara Medical UniversityKashiharaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Management, School of Health ScienceUniversity of Occupational and Environmental HealthKitakyushuJapan

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