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Yokkaichi asthma is one of Japan’s four “big pollution diseases.” It occurred in the early 1960s and was caused by emissions from the petrochemical industry. The disease led to the first litigation concerning air pollution in Japan. From 1967 to 1972, citizens fought against corporations as part of the Yokkaichi lawsuit. This article explores how Yokkaichi asthma occurred, how citizens saw the disease before and during the lawsuit, and what actions they took to react to the problem. By appealing, studying, recording, and measuring, citizens in Yokkaichi made their voices heard and helped scientists testify during the legal proceedings, ultimately promoting Japan’s environmental legislation.
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