Compensation for Asbestos-Related Diseases in Japan: Utilization of Standard Classifications of Industry and Occupations

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

2 Research Center in Back, Neck, Other Joint Pain and Human Performance (BNOJPH), Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

3 Sleep Apnea Research Group, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

4 Japan Occupational Safety and Health Resource Center, Japan

5 Department of Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine, Kosin University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

6 Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea

7 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

8 Department of Environmental Epidemiology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan

9 Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney, Australia.


Background: Asbestos-related diseases (ARD) are occupational hazards with high mortality rates. To identify asbestos exposure by previous occupation is the main issue for ARD compensation for workers. This study aimed to identify risk groups by applying standard classifications of industries and occupations to a national database of compensated ARD victims in Japan. Methods: We identified occupations that carry a risk of asbestos exposure according to the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC). ARD compensation data from Japan between 2006 and 2013 were retrieved. Each compensated worker was classified by job section and group according to the ISIC code. Risk ratios for compensation were calculated according to the percentage of workers compensated because of ARD in each ISIC category. Results: In total, there were 6,916 workers with ARD who received compensation in Japan between 2008 and 2013. ISIC classification section F (construction) had the highest compensated risk ratio of 6.3. Section C (manufacturing) and section F (construction) had the largest number of compensated workers (2,868 and 3,463, respectively). In the manufacturing section C, 9 out of 13 divisions had a risk ratio of more than 1. For ISIC divisions in the construction section, construction of buildings (division 41) had the highest number of workers registering claims (2,504). Conclusion: ISIC classification of occupations that are at risk of developing ARD can be used to identify the actual risk of workers’ compensation at the national level.