Essay About Itai-Iti-Ouch Disease

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After the World War II, Japan government focused so much on economic growth that it gave little or no attention on the environmental and public health effect of industrialization. Its consequences are unparalleled air, water and soil pollution that jeopardize health of some of its population to so called pollution-diseases.

One of the four major pollution-related diseases in Japan is the Itai-itai or ouch-ouch disease. It is named so because the patients shout itai-itai in Japanese translated as ouch ouch in English due to severe pain. The disease is characterized by the deterioration of bone and kidney degeneration.

It was later found out that itai-itai is caused by long time consumption of cadmium-contaminated rice and
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3.1 The Central and Local Administrations on the Itai-itai Disease

The central government and the local authority were not so cooperative in their response to the victims of itai-itai disease. The Toyoma Prefecture set up a special committee for local diseases at the end of 1961. However, the committee denied that mining pollution was the cause of itai-itai.

In 1963, the government assigned some research groups under the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education to conduct a study about the disease. In January 1967 the joint research group confirmed that cadmium was one of the causes of the disease together with other possible reasons.

The group of victims was disappointed by this unclear conclusion of the government research group and decided to file a case against the responsible company, Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd., as well as against the government in March 1968.

On 8th of May 1968, the Ministry of Health and Welfare admitted that the disease was caused by cadmium poisoning and the only possible source of the cadmium was the effluent from the Kamioka mine of the Mitsui Mining& Smelting Co., Ltd. This was the first occasion when the government associated Mitsui’s Kamioka mine with itai-itai disease as the source of cadmium
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