Japan's mercury pollution crisis reached a new climax on Wednesday (August 8, 1973), when fishermen blockaded sea access to chemical plants around Tokyo Bay.
Japan's mercury pollution crisis reached a new climax on Wednesday (August 8, 1973), when fishermen blockaded sea access to chemical plants around Tokyo Bay. One hundred fishing boats dropped anchor and roped together across the sea lanes leading to the plants' wharves.
The demonstration was triggered off by a refusal by the Tokyo Central fish market - the largest in the world - to accept recent catches, on the grounds that they may be contaminated. In June, alarmed by industrial poisoning, the Japanese Government announced what they called "Safe Limits" for fish consumption, advising the nation - the heaviest fish eaters in the world - to eat sea-food sparingly.
Claiming drastic income reductions, Japan's fisherman have been demanding massive compensation from the chemical companies responsible for the pollution. In Tokyo Bay, they have asked for 2,480 million yen (GBP 3,729,000 sterling) from the surrounding group of factories. They have been offered only an eight of this sum.
Meanwhile, at Manimata, South Japan, fishermen are continuing the blockade of a chemical plant, accused of causing 78 death in 20 years due to mercury poisoning. The resultant sickness, which rehabilitates prior to death, has become known as "Manimata Disease."