LANGUAGE

Heisei 11 Edogawa Government Case

Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, Edogawa Ward Government, for breach of its duty to provide a healthy and safe working environment, alleging that his lung disease had been caused by exposure to secondhand smoke in his office.  The plaintiff sued to recover his healthcare costs and sought punitive damages. The defendant argued that when the office building was built, its air filtering system satisfied the requirements of contemporary environmental laws and labor laws and that there was no evidence showing the causation between secondhand smoking and the plaintiff's lung disease. The Court found that the evidence showed no direct causation between secondhand smoking and the plaintiff's lung disease.  The Court, however, found that he defendant's failure to take reasonable measures to help relieve the plaintiff's suffering violated its duty to provide a safe working environment.  The Court denied the plaintiff's demand for healthcare cost recovery and partly granted the plaintiff's demand of punitive damages.