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Mitsui Construction may agree to pay compensation.

FUKUOKA, Feb. 13 Kyodo

Mitsui Construction Co. indicated Tuesday it may settle with a group of former workers and their relatives who sued it and two other companies demanding some 4.87 billion yen in redress for pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease.

The plaintiffs and representatives of the three companies -- Mitsui Construction, Mitsui Mining Co. and Mitsui Coal Mining Co. -- held talks for an out-of-court settlement at the Fukuoka District Court. The suit on the work-related disease involves the now-closed Miike Mine, Japan's largest coal mine, in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Mitsui Construction said it may accept a proposal by the plaintiffs that the three companies pay a total of 1.9 billion yen in damages. The other two said they have no intention to settle.

During the talks, the plaintiffs demanded that Mitsui Construction pay about 150 million yen. The Tokyo-based company said it will consider the demand.

A total of 253 former workers and their relatives demanded damages of 33 million yen a worker in a series of suits started in August 1993.

The plaintiffs, who worked at the mine between the 1920s and 1980s, have accused the companies of taking inadequate measures to prevent them from contracting black lung disease. The companies have denied any responsibility.

Black lung disease is caused by inhaling dust produced during coal mining.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Feb 19, 2001
Words:220
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