JAPANESE ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION: A CASE STUDY OF THE KANEMI RICE OIL DISEASE VICTIMS.
AuthorHAUSKNECHT, PHILLIP ARNE.
Pollution -- Environmental aspects -- Japan.
Pollution -- Japan -- Physiological effect.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAll major pollution incidents in contemporary Japan have spawned victims' protest movements. This dissertation is a case study of one such movement which emerged in the late 1960s among thousands of persons poisoned by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that had accidentally leaked into their cooking oil. The study describes the evolution of victims' response to the disaster, beginning with the initial outbreak of symptoms, their efforts to uncover the cause of these symptoms and to receive appropriate medical treatment, and their organization of a movement to seek redress in the form of an apology from the manufacturer of the oil, reform by industry and government, and compensation. Victims utilized a variety of tactics before finally resorting to litigation in attempts to achieve their goals. Theirs was the largest pollution case ever tried in Japan. The final section of the study focuses on a major leader of the victims' movement, Kamino Ryuzo. A spokesman for the victims, Kamino, a retired miner and Christian convert, became a kind of anti-pollution ideologue. An account of his intellectual and religious odyssey and of the unique tactics forged by his family to cope with their predicament provides a perspective on victims' movements not found elsewhere. The study concludes that victims became their own advocates only after the government and industry failed to accept responsibility for pollution; that the victims went to court only reluctantly after all other avenues for redress were closed to them; and that, although they won their case, they felt it was a Pyrrhic victory, because they failed to attain all their goals, such as reform of industrial policy. Research is based on participation-observation, interviews, written materials produced by pollution victims and their supporters, and published newspaper accounts.
Degree ProgramOriental Studies