Fri . 20 Jan 2020
TR | RU | UK | KK | BE |

Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan

four big pollution diseases of japan
The four big pollution diseases of Japan 四大公害病, yondai kōgai-byō were a group of man-made diseases all caused by environmental pollution due to improper handling of industrial wastes by Japanese corporations1 The first occurred in 1912, and the other three occurred in the 1950s and 1960s

Name of disease Japanese prefecture affected Cause Source Year
Itai-itai disease Toyama Prefecture Cadmium poisoning Mitsui Mining & Smelting Company 1912
Minamata disease Kumamoto Prefecture Methylmercury Chisso Corporation 1956
Niigata Minamata Disease Niigata Prefecture Methylmercury Showa Denko 1965
Yokkaichi Asthma Mie Prefecture Sulfur dioxide Air pollution within Yokkaichi 1961

Due to lawsuits, publicity, and other actions against the corporations responsible for the pollution, as well as the creation of the Environmental Agency in 1971, increased public awareness, and changes in industrial practices, the incidence of these kinds of diseases declined after the 1970s


  • 1 Itai-itai disease
    • 11 Cause of itai-itai
    • 12 Symptoms of itai-itai
    • 13 Aftermath of itai-itai
  • 2 Minamata disease
    • 21 Symptoms of Minamata disease
    • 22 Chisso Corporation
    • 23 Aftermath of Minamata disease
  • 3 Niigata Minamata disease
    • 31 Symptoms of Niigata Minamata disease
    • 32 Showa Denko
    • 33 Aftermath of Niigata Minamata disease
  • 4 Yokkaichi asthma
    • 41 Cause of Yokkaichi asthma
    • 42 Yokkaichi asthma relief system
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References

Itai-itai diseaseedit

Itai-itai disease first occurred in 1912 within Toyama Prefecture This disease was given the name "itai-itai" because this was the phrase victims would frequently cry out; it translates into "it-hurts it-hurts disease"

Cause of itai-itaiedit

The cause of itai-itai disease was determined to be cadmium poisoning in the drinking water from the Jinzugawa River basin The source of cadmium was discovered to be from Mitsui Mining and Smelting Company2 Mitsui Mining began to discharge cadmium into the Jinzugawa River in 1910 The cadmium poisoned the river, thus poisoning locals' source of water Any person who drank that water or ate food that was grown with the contaminated water, such as rice, would be likely to show signs of itai-itai disease

Symptoms of itai-itaiedit

The first symptoms were spine and leg pain However, as the disease progresses symptoms include:3

  • debilitating pain
  • bone fractures from mild traumas or activities eg, coughing or walking
  • skeletal deformities
  • anemia
  • kidney disorders

Aftermath of itai-itaiedit

Most victims of itai-itai disease were confined to bed because walking caused severe pain Residents of the surrounding area that were harmed by this disease filed a lawsuit against Mitsui Mining & Smelting Company in 1968 Residents won this lawsuit and began to conduct negotiations Mitsui Mining formally admitted that itai-itai disease was caused by their discharge of cadmium into the Jinzugawa River Mitsui Mining was also obligated to pay for recovery costs for the land This meant that they had to ensure that the land that was poisoned was returned to a safe and cultivable state

Minamata diseaseedit

The first report of Minamata disease originated in Minamata in Kumamoto Prefecture in the year 1956 Many of the earliest patients became insane from the symptoms and in some cases died within a month of being afflicted4 After an extensive investigation, the Minamata disease was identified as a heavy metal poisoning, specifically methylmercury poisoning, transmitted by the ingestion of contaminated fish from Minamata Bay5 The methylmercury inside the contaminated fish attacked the afflicted patient’s central nervous system, which caused a variety of symptoms

Symptoms of Minamata diseaseedit

  • numbing in the arms and legs
  • impairment of balance
  • fatigue
  • ringing in the ears
  • tunnel vision
  • loss of hearing
  • decrease in communication skills slurred speech

Most patients exhibited combinations of symptoms and did not show all symptoms

Chisso Corporationedit

The cause of this contamination in Minamata bay was then traced back to Chisso Corporation’s dumping of methylmercury into Minamata Chisso Corporation produced acetaldehyde in order to produce acetic acid and vinyl chloride; however, methylmercury was a by-product in the making of these chemicals The methylmercury was then dumped into the waters as chemical waste Upon sudden realizations of this dumping, Chisso decided not to stop the manufacturing or the dumping of these chemicals into the bay until 1966 Today, Chisso makes compensation payments to all patients of Minamata disease

Aftermath of Minamata diseaseedit

In 1970, the Japanese Water Pollution Control Act, which states that all factories are required by law to regulate disposal of dangerous chemicals, was enacted In 1977, the Japanese government took on the task of cleaning Minamata Bay by vacuuming out 15 million cubic metres of methylmercury-contaminated sludge from the bottom of the bay Then in 1997, after fourteen years and $359 million,6 the Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture deemed Minamata Bay safe7

Niigata Minamata diseaseedit

In 1965, a number of patients in Niigata Prefecture exhibited signs of Minamata disease Niigata Minamata was caused by methylmercury poisoning in the Agano River basin However, this second outbreak of Minamata disease was discovered early on The degree of this outbreak was minimalclarification needed compared to that of the first Minamata disease that took place in Kumamoto prefecture Investigation of the cause of the disease was given to the Niigata University medical department There were a number of factors that could be the cause of this outbreak Along the Agano River basin there were several plants that used mercury in production, agricultural chemicals were widely used in the area, and the last possible cause of the outbreak was said to be the cause of an earthquake that took place a year before the disease was discovered in Niigata

Symptoms of Niigata Minamata diseaseedit

As the name implies, Niigata Minamata disease is similar to Minamata disease; they both share the similar symptoms:

  • numbness in the arms and legs
  • impairment of balance
  • fatigue
  • ringing in the ears
  • tunnel vision
  • loss of hearing
  • decrease in communication skills

Showa Denkoedit

In the spring of 1966, the research team determined the most likely cause to the dumping of methylmercury from Showa Denko Corporation factory8 Showa Denko was located upstream on the Agano River and, just like the Chisso corporation, produced methylmercury as a by-product and then dumped it into the Agano river Much like Chisso corporation, Showa Denko declined all charges that they were at fault for the Niigata Minamata outbreak

Aftermath of Niigata Minamata diseaseedit

After much controversy, Showa Denko was found guilty of negligence and was then forced to pay compensation payments to all victims of Niigata Minamata disease In the year that Niigata Minamata was discovered,when 26 people were designated disease patients, and five died as a result of the methylmercury poisoning

Yokkaichi asthmaedit

Yokkaichi is a city in the center of Japan in Mie Prefecture; known as the "town of petroleum" as it produces almost a quarter of the total petroleum in Japan9 Construction of the first oil refinery in this area first began in 195510 and after construction many respiratory diseases emerged within the city and among neighboring districts

Cause of Yokkaichi asthmaedit

In the middle of this city was the largest heavy oil-fired power station and refinery in Japan during this time period Unfortunately, this refinery was not equipped with machines that could lower the sulfur dioxide emissions before releasing them into the air In the early 1960s, respiratory diseases began to emerge in the general population of Yokkaichi and even in some neighboring districts This increase in respiratory problems was then specified as Yokkaichi asthma This form of asthma was incredibly prevalent within Yokkaichi — so much in fact that 5–10% of inhabitants aged 40 in Yokkaichi were reported to suffer from chronic bronchitis, whereas less than 3% suffered from the same disease in non-polluted areas11

Yokkaichi asthma relief systemedit

To offer support for many of the victims of this disease, a public release system for air pollution was established in 1965 This set forth that all people in the Yokkaichi area who met the following criteria were paid by the program:

  1. Specific diseases such as bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, and their complication
  2. In specific areas where the prevalence of that disease has increased
  3. Three years of residence within the specified area

Today, there are many laws regulating the amount of sulfur dioxide a factory can release into the air These laws help keep the disaster of Yokkaichi Asthma from happening once again within Japan's borders

See alsoedit

  • Environmental issues in Japan
  • Toroku arsenic disease
  • Sendai Nuclear Power Plant


  1. ^ Almeida, P; Stearns, L 1998 "Political opportunities and local grassroots environmental movement: The case of Minamata" Social Problems 45 1: 37–60 doi:101525/sp199845103x0156z 
  2. ^ "The Wound Left by the Sharp Knife of Industrial Pollution" Retrieved 10 November 2013 
  3. ^ Hamilton, Joshua W "What is ouch ouch or Itai itai disease" McGraw Hill Education Retrieved 10 November 2013 
  4. ^ "10 Things to know about Minamata Disease" The Minamata Environmental Creation Development Project Steering Committee Retrieved 23 October 2013 
  5. ^ "Minamata Disease The History and Measures" Retrieved 23 October 2013 
  6. ^ Griesbauer, Laura "The Minamata Bay Incident" 
  7. ^ Pollack, Andrew "Japan Call Mercury-Poisoned Bay Safe Now" New York Times Retrieved 6 November 2013 
  8. ^ http://archiveunuedu/unupress/unupbooks/uu35ie/uu35ie0dhtm Retrieved 23 October 2013  Missing or empty |title= help
  10. ^ "AIR POLLUTION IN YOKKAICHI AREA WITH SPECIAL REGARDS TO THE PROBLEM OF "YOKKAICHI -ASTHMA"" Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Mie Prefectural University, Torii-cho, Tsu, Mie-Ken 
  11. ^ "Mortality and life expectancy of Yokkaichi Asthma patients, Japan: Late effects of air pollution in 1960–70s" Retrieved 24 October 2013 

four big pollution diseases of japan

Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan Information about

Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan

  • user icon

    Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan beatiful post thanks!


Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan
Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan
Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan viewing the topic.
Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan what, Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan who, Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan explanation

There are excerpts from wikipedia on this article and video

Random Posts

Amorphous metal

Amorphous metal

An amorphous metal also known as metallic glass or glassy metal is a solid metallic material, usuall...
Arthur Lake (bishop)

Arthur Lake (bishop)

Arthur Lake September 1569 – 4 May 1626 was Bishop of Bath and Wells and a translator of the King Ja...
John Hawkins (author)

John Hawkins (author)

Sir John Hawkins 29 March 1719 – 21 May 1789 was an English author and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson a...
McDonnell Douglas MD-12

McDonnell Douglas MD-12

The McDonnell Douglas MD-12 was an aircraft design study undertaken by the McDonnell Douglas company...