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VI. The historical implications of the Ashio Copper-mine poisoning incidents

1. Copper-mining-related Environmental Destruction

Before launching into the historical implications of the Ashio copper-mine poisonings, a brief explanation of the environmental problems involved is in order. Since this problem is not something to be relegated to the distant past but is also the inheritance of the present generation, it can be found in almost all countries of the world.

Non-ferrous mining as represented by copper extraction results inevitably in environmental destruction. Two kinds of destruction are involved: one derived from the sulphurous acid resulting from the refining processes and the metal-containing dusts from the refinery smoke, and the other from acid water discharged in the mining and ore-selection refining processes, which pollutes the rivers, leading to the destruction of topsoils by water-borne poisons. There are differences in ore quality, but most of Japan's copper ores are sulphurous ores, which contain 30 to 40 per cent sulphur. Thus, in the refining processes, a great deal of sulphurous acid is produced (CuS + O2 = Cu + SO2). When this sulphurous acid is discharged into the air, the smoke-related damage is extensive. Copper ore also contains a certain amount of arsenic, cadmium, zinc, and lead, and small amounts of gold and silver. In the refining processes, arsenic is also released into the air with the sulphurous acid gases, and this results in very serious damage to all forms of life.

Highly concentrated sulphurous acid gases bleach the leaves and thereby kill the leaves. New leaves can appear just once more, but these too are damaged by the poisons, and thus trees several hundred years old are killed as the roots become exposed to the poisons through the flow of rainwater. As a result, the recovery of forested areas becomes almost impossible. This was especially true of the Ashio copper-mine area, where annual precipitation is more than 2,000 millimetres of rain. As trees are damaged and destroyed, the topsoil is washed away and the area is no longer able to retain water. Besides that, the sulphurous acid and arsenic begins to attack horses, cows and all other animals, and soon the health of human beings living in the affected areas is seriously compromised. As indicated in previous sections, Matsuki Village was one example of this, in which people living upwind from the refinery were no longer able to cope with the poisons and had to leave their village.

It is said that before the introduction of the Ashio mining activities, the surrounding area was densely forested, just as the mountains of Nikko are today. In addition to the damage brought about by the excessive intrusion of various chemical poisons, the mine used a great deal of wood and charcoal as fuel, and to meet these additional energy requirements a very great number of trees were cut down in the surrounding mountains. Because of the denudation of the forest areas, the Watarase River overflowed its banks even after a small amount of rain, and after a short spell of fine weather the river would be emptied of water in no time. The flood caused poisoning of agricultural products daily, because a great deal of acid-laden water was discharged from the mine and from the standing slag and unused ore piles, which contained unremoved copper and other poison elements. Other heavy metals and acids were also leaked from the slag and unused ore piles. It is not rare for the area to be inundated by 100 millimetres of rainfall in one hour, especially in the typhoon season; on these occasions, great amounts of poisons flow into the natural environment. To add to the problem, the Ashio copper mine lacked storage facilities for slag and untreated ores. In the 1890s, when the poisoning problem became a great social issue, the company dynamited the slag piles to dispose of them, thereby driving the slag into the river. As a result, copper-mining-derived poisoning was greatly exacerbated in the lower reaches of the river. Heavy metals contained in the waste ores and slag accumulated in the rice-fields through the irrigation systems, which used the river water, and the topsoil took on a cement-like consistency. Because the soil could not retain oxygen in the rice, wheat, and vegetable root systems, these plants would simply die away. At other times in the past, harvests were reduced because of flooding, but these same floodwaters brought rich soils to the farmers cultivating land in and around the lower reaches of the river system. However, as copper mining developed, damage to agricultural systems increased and the farmers had to close the irrigation canal gates to keep out the poisons every time it rained in the upper reaches of the river. Even so, the damage resulting from flooding by these poison-laden waters spread to over 100,000 hectares of irrigated land (see figure 1.2).

The damage went beyond the simple pollution of the working soil and the irrigation waters, for the farmers suffered from financial difficulties and malnutrition as well, because they had no harvests. Also, the poisons from the copper mine were introduced directly into the drinking water, which had a deleterious effect on people's health. There is no way of discovering the extent of the damage that existed in 1900, but, according to the analyses made by the Water Bureau of Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture, which gets its drinking water supplies from the upper reaches of the Watarase River, there is still several times the amount of arsenic that could be expected in the drinking water after a heavy rain, in spite of control mechanisms to limit the mine poisons. This means that in the past, when there were no controls on the copper-mining poisons, the water quality was severely compromised, especially during the 1900s. There is no way of knowing the total extent of the adverse effects on human and animal life by the heavy metals in the water. Therefore, the government and most scholars emphasized that copper-mining-related poisons had some adverse effects on agricultural productivity, but there were no ill-effects to be noted with respect to human and animal life. However, 70 to 80 years later, the cadmium in the soil continues to cause health problems among farmers, because the rice that they grow and eat still contains large amounts of cadmium; this indicates that the copper mine-related poisons did indeed bring about many serious health problems. Knowing this, Shozo Tanaka and the farmers never ceased in their appeal to the government to stop the devastation produced by the poisoning. Whether immediately visible or not, the fact is that copper mining brings death and destruction to the human environment.

Fig. 1.2 Area Affected by Copper Poisoning and Smoke Hazards from Ashio Mine (based on a survey in 1897)

Notes (other affected areas)

1. Nine villages in Higashi-Katsushika-gun, Chiba-ken, including Sekiyado
2. Seven villages in Kita-Katsushika-gun, Saitama-ken, including Yoshikawa-mura
3. Four villages in Minami-Katsushika-gun. Tokyo-fu, including Mizumoto-mura
4. Twenty-five villages in Sarushima-gun, Ibaragj-ken Place-names at the period of the Incident are given; the names of current communities are printed in bold.


1. Ashio Kyohdoshi
2. Gunma-ken Copper Poison Area Map (Gunma-ken)
3. Kinsaburo Sunaga, Kohdoku ronkoh dai-ichi-hen: Watarase-gawa Zen
4. Ashio Dohzan kohdoku higai chousahyou (Kohdoku jiken no shinso to Tanaka Shozo ou)
5. Ashio Dohzon kohdoku higaichi kaku sonrakuno ryaku chizu (Ohide Chizuya)
6. Ashikaga-shi shi (betsukan) Kohdoku

(c) Ryo Nunokawa 1982

2. The Political and Economic Background to the Copper-poisoning Incident

The period in which the Ashio copper mine became a major social issue was the 20 years beginning in 1890, with farmer opposition to the poisonings at a peak between 1896 and 1902. During this period Japan was involved in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904--1905) and it was then that Japan's industrial capital, centring around textile industries, was established. By contrast, light industry, and heavy industry such as iron and steel and shipbuilding, were just getting started. The Sino-Japanese War was the first war that Japan waged with another country, and Japan emerged the victor. The huge amounts of reparations extracted from China were used for the expansion of the armed forces and for the development of heavy industry.

Along with great change in the economic spheres, there were also major changes in politics. The Imperial Diet was inaugurated in 1890 and the majority of the seats were controlled by one party, the Minto (literally Populist Party). whose members were activists leading the liberal democratic movement of the time. At first this party represented farming interests against the government, but from 1898 it established cohesive relationships with the bureaucrats and thus came to lose interest in the farmers. At first the Minto party stood against absentee-landowner farming methods and called for a system in which land ownership would go only to those who lived on the land and cultivated it. At the same time, the government came to realize that unless it co-operated with the Minto. smooth political action would not be possible, and this led to a compromise with the Minto on many issues.

In the period between the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Japanese capitalism developed rapidly. At that time, the Ashio copper-mine poisoning incident became a serious social problem. As relations with Russia were strained, the government adopted a policy of military expansion.

The Ashio copper-mine poisoning incident was one of the most important domestic issues that it had to deal with. By a carrot-and-stick policy, the government divided the farmers' movement, and tried to suppress the poisoning problem.

The politicians and journalists who supported the farmers against the Ashio copper mine fell away when the Russo-Japanese War broke out; in fact, the opposition networks against the mine were completely disbanded during the war, for the government's mobilization effort had the effect of stifling all such movements. In other words, the war contributed to a glossing over of the very serious environmental problems created by the mine.

3. Effects of the Copper-poisoning Incident

The government had more difficulty with the issue of the copper mine as it took on a social dimension, and as the problem became more intractable they began issuing orders to other copper mines to install the most minimal antipollution systems. At that time the Besshi copper mine in Ehime Prefecture, operated by Sumitomo capital, was becoming another problem area because of the smoke from the mine. The government was especially worried that the poison victims' movements surrounding Ashio would spread to Besshi and to other copper mines. The farmers' movement in Ashio was a serious obstacle to the government's programme to promote the development of industry and exports, especially considering the fact that Japan would have to run a race with the Great Powers with very few natural resources for industrialization and precious little land for farming. So a widening of the anti-copper mine movement would have been a serious threat to the government's plans for the development of an industrial state.

In March 1897, with the farmers' demonstration in Tokyo against the damage caused by the copper mine, the matter became a very serious social issue, and the government established the First Copper Poisons Survey Committee. The committee recommended that Ichibei Furukawa build a special area for the accumulation of slag and waste ores, a poisons catchment basin, and drainage for the copper mine itself, and that the water coming from the refinery be neutralized with lime. Although these attempts to protect the environment were wholly inadequate, the repeated orders from the government to Furukawa to provide protection, and the actual application of protective measures, succeeded in providing some degree of amelioration. Also, these policies were to some degree effective in calming the heightened public concern over the problem that had been generated in the urban population. Therefore, the government also ordered the same pollution-control mechanisms to be installed in other copper mines. If companies lacked the funds to provide the required protective set-up, the government threatened to revoke mine-operating licences. Since they did not have the funds to make these improvements, the smaller companies were forced to sell out to larger companies. An example of this is the takeover of the Akazawa copper mine by the Hitachi copper mine. With the coming of serious copper-mine-related environmental destruction, the public outcry and the social issues involved did result in the formulation of certain policies, however incomplete, to cope with the problem.

However, the technology of the time was not up to dealing with the damage derived from refinery- and mining-related smoke. In 1897, the government ordered the installation of devices that would protect the environment against the ravages of sulphurous acid gas; this involved the smoke being washed with lime-water before being discharged into the air. The smokestack was built at great expense but its effectiveness was so limited that the government would not allow it to be counted as a solution to the problem. In fact, no solution was possible, since nowhere in the world were effective smoke-elimination technologies available in those days.

The damage from the gas-containing smoke was seen mostly in the regions upstream of the refinery. Very few people lived there, so Furukawa moved all inhabitants to other places. Thus the company solved the human problem, but it did nothing to preserve the environment, simply allowing the complete destruction of all living things and creating thereby a "death valley." The Furukawa Company built an installation for removing sulphurous acid gases as late as 1955, some 60 years after the first attempt to solve the problem. In other copper-mining areas in Japan there were many people living and working in and around the installations, and it was clearly impossible for the entire community to be moved away from the mining area.

Now let us look at the policies in relation to the copper-related poisons and smoke damage during the Tokugawa period. The shogunate had a policy of exempting those subjected to such poisons from taxes (in the form of a provision) and the amount of exemption was determined by the amount of destruction suffered. In these cases the amount of exemption was also influenced by the farmers' movements for reductions. However, under the modern tax system instituted by the Meiji government, the farmers were not allowed tax-exemption status until the problem became an intractable social issue and the government was forced to act. The mine companies also provided a certain amount of compensation money to the poisoned farmers, but this was always on condition that they sought no further damages and never complained about the problem thereafter. This was used as a means of undermining the power of the opposition movements. These same tactics were practised in relation to the Besshi copper mine of the Sumitomo group and the Kosaka mine of the Fujitagumi group.

After the Russo-Japanese War the smoke problem in relation to the copper mines became a very serious issue, with the exception of the Ashio mine. This was due to the fact that, though the government had ordered very limited environmental protection practices to be instituted, and though a certain amount of compensation, be it very small, had been paid to farmers who protested most vociferously over the mine poisons, no policies had been established in relation to the smoke problem. That was why this came to be an issue of primary concern for the people.

About the time of the Russo-Japanese War, the Shisakajima refinery of the Besshi copper mine came to be widely known because of its endemic smoke problem. The Besshi copper mine, which laid the foundation for the Sumitomo zaibatsu, was one of the four major mines - Ashio, Besshi, Kosaka, and Hitachi - of the time. The mine had been managed by Sumitomo since the Tokugawa period, and even after the Meiji Restoration it had not come under government control. Sumitomo promoted the modernization of the mine by moving its refinery from deep within the mountains of Ehime Prefecture to Niihama City on the Inland Sea. This move was made because they had a plan to build a modern refinery in Niihama to facilitate shipment. In 1893, as soon as the new refinery began operations, damage was done to agricultural products by the emitted smoke. The farmers in the area were fiercely opposed to the refinery but, when the Sino-Japanese War broke out, the police were called in to break up the opposition movement and the farmers were prosecuted as criminals. The company paid a small amount of money to the farmers for the smoke damage, and then acquiesced to moving 18 kilometres away from Niihama to Shisakajima in order to reduce the ill-effects of the smoke.

In 1898, because of the demonstrations staged by the Ashio-mine farmers in Tokyo, copper-poison problems became a national issue, and the government ordered Sumitomo to install anti-pollution equipment and to move the Niihama refinery to Shisakajima. In 1899, the old Besshi Yamanaka refinery, which was producing half of the Besshi mine copper, was flooded because of heavy rains and the Sumitomo Company requested a two-year extension from the government relative to the planned move of the refinery. In the meantime the company doubled the size of the Niihama refinery. This being done, the farmers became angry with Sumitomo over the latter's refusal to keep their promise. This was during the period when Shozo Tanaka was attempting to make an appeal to the Emperor and there was considerable public disquiet in regard to pollution problems. The farmers of Niihama were influenced by all of this, and as a result they also stepped up their protest about Sumitomo practices. The Minister of Agriculture and Commerce tried to mediate between the farmers and Sumitomo through the offices of the Prefectural Governor, but Sumitomo refused to accept the mediation and no compensation was paid. However, Sumitomo could no longer extend their period in Niihama and therefore started initial operations at the Shisakajima refinery in August 1904.

As soon as operations began in Shisakajima, four very wide coastal areas along the Inland Sea in Ehime Prefecture began to be polluted by copper refinery smoke. The sulphurous acid gas discharged from the refinery spread over a twenty-kilometre area along the coastline. No one, including a number of influential and well-known scholars, had expected this to happen. The Sumitomo Company was well aware of the damage to agricultural systems but did not respond to the farmers' protests. The farmers held many protest rallies, which were attended by several thousand people. In 1908, the protest group closed the Niihama refinery. Finally, the company was obliged to admit that its activities at the Shisakajima refinery were the cause of the damage to agriculture, though they did nothing to solve the problem.

At about that time the smoke damage from the Kosaka copper mine in Akita Prefecture and the Hitachi copper mine in Ibaragi Prefecture became serious issues and the farmers' protest at copper-mine poisonings took on a nationwide scope. In 1909 the government issued an urgent statement that the elimination of copper-mine poisons was necessary for harmony between industries. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, the Third Copper Mine Poisons Committee was established, and discussions began again on policies to solve the copper-mine smoke problems. Some technicians were sent abroad in search of means of protecting the environment from the ravages of copper-smelting smoke, and specialists were sent to the most heavily ravaged areas to assess the damage. The government was afraid of the expansion of the farmers' movements in relation to the delay in Sumitomo's response, and in 1910 it interfered in the negotiations between the company and the farmers. The government called for the presence of both Sumitomo, who had no intention of paying damages, and the farmer victims at the official residence of the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, and had talks with the representatives of both parties for a 20-day period. Then the Minister proposed measures to which both sides could agree. The results of the negotiations included: the payment of about 340,000 yen for damage which occurred before 1910, and 77,000 yen annually after 1911, these amounts being negotiable every three years; production of refined copper limited to about 210,000 tons per year; and, during the 40 days when rice and wheat grow, a limit on copper refining, with a complete halt in operations for 10 of these 40 days. These conditions were fairly difficult for the Sumitomo Company, so the company made efforts to find means to eliminate sulphurous acid gas. The solution came from the discovery that sulphuric acid could be recovered from sulphurous acid gas and used in the production of ammonium sulphate, which is used as a fertilizer. In 1939, Sumitomo finally completed their total recovery system, but in the meantime the company had had to pay over 6 million yen damages to farmers.

The farmers in opposition to the Ashio copper-mine refinery followed the mine-poisoning protests that were being led by Shozo Tanaka, but did not limit their protests to copper mine-related problems only. The government negotiators tried to emphasize harmony between mining and agriculture so as to promote the interest of both sides, as did the farmers' leaders. But the tenant farmers, in contrast, demanded an end to the copper mine and the removal of the refinery. Thus they were in opposition to both the government and their own leaders. This heralded the destruction of the old village order. Behind the government's negotiating stance was the August 1910 invasion and annexation of Korea, which reflected Japan's imperialistic policies. In order to get support from the public for these policies it was essential that the old village order, which was being destabilized by the protest activities of the farmers, be maintained.

In relation to the intractable smoke problem Sumitomo had to make promises to limit copper production, to pay for damages, and to make seasonal adjustments in their production schedules. At that time, these were epoch-making pollution-prevention measures. Only the Besshi copper mine was required to introduce limits on production, but damage compensation of one kind or another was required of all poison-producing copper mines throughout the country. Seasonal production adjustments according to weather conditions were also made by the Hitachi mine.

In 1907, the Hitachi copper mine began operations under the management of Fusanosuke Kuhara, and within two years it had become one of the four largest copper mines in Japan. As soon as the mine began operations, the company bought the land where environmental pollution was expected, and also made contracts with farmers to the effect that whenever environmental damage occurred compensation would be provided. However, once the refinery began to operate, and production increased smoke damage was seen over a wider area than the company first expected. So the damages which had to be paid by the company increased by leaps and bounds. The Ministry of Agriculture and Business ordered the use of fans in order to dissipate the smoke from a large low-standing chimney; but the chimney forced sulphurous acid gas back into the refinery and contaminated the air inside, affecting the workers' health. The chimney, which was more harmful than useful, was called the "stupid chimney"; Kuhara ordered that it no longer be used, and the original chimney was brought on line again. The old chimney was called "the centipede chimney" because it was built on the slope of a hill and it had many holes in it from which the smoke was discharged, thus looking like a centipede. But in no time Kuhara was no longer able to pay all the damages demanded, and therefore decided to build a very tall chimney, which was contrary to government ministry orders. In 1915, a chimney 155 metres tall - this was the tallest chimney in the world at that time - was built on the top of a mountain near the refinery. In this regard, Kuhara was the first to make use of the upper-layer air current. Depending on the weather conditions, the refinery production was modified and the ore combinations were changed in order to cut down on environmental damage and increase productivity. Because of these efforts, funds provided for compensation purposes were greatly reduced. Also, Kuhara was very enthusiastic about planting trees, and as a result there are very few bald mountains to be found in the vicinity of the Hitachi copper mine.

The copper poisons issue became a serious social problem in the Hitachi area, but the reason Kuhara managed to cope with it was not merely because he made strenuous efforts to do so, but also because the mine was located close to the Pacific Ocean. If it had been in the mountains, like the Ashio mine, it would have been impossible to build an adequate poisons dispersion system and the tall chimney would have simply spread the damage further. The tragedy of the Ashio copper mine was caused by its location; the mine was located on the upper reaches of a complex river system that flowed through the largest and most fertile Kanto Plains.

Table 1.5 shows the historical aspect of the poisoning and smoke damage caused by the four major copper mines, and table 1.6 the characteristics of these various incidents. These two tables suggest that the Ashio mine victims' movement was unsuccessful in stopping the destruction, but that the struggle made clear the necessity for environmental protection measures in the form of various construction projects as well as creating general orientations for methods of compensation for the damage done. At the same time, it is made clear that Japanese capitalism, which was rapidly moving towards monopolistic capitalism, slightly changed its policy. It is obvious that its policies were oriented to industrialization at the expense of agriculture, but the government had begun to recognize the need to protect the agricultural community in order to ensure a good supply of labourers and soldiers. So there was a need for the application of social policy on a wider scale if order was to be maintained in the farming communities.

Table 1.5. Chronology of Four Major Copper-mine Contamination Issues


Ashio copper-mine incident

Besshi copper-mine incident

1890   Azuma villagers' appear to Tochigi governor  
    Shozo Tanaka puts quest ions in the Diet  
    First arbitration meeting Opposition movement against smoke emission
      Collective noting incident
1895 Sino Japanese War Second arbitration meeting  
    The flood of 1896 Plan for relocation to Shisakajima
  First Poisons Survey Committee First mass rally  
      Relocation order
      Besshi flood
1900   Kawamata Incident/Fourth mass rally  
    Shozo Tanaka appeals to Emperor Relocation postponed for two years
  Second Poisons Survey Committee Development into political scandal Mediation attempts
    Catchment basin plan  
1905 Russo Japanese War Abolition of Yanaka Village Shisakajima refinery opens
    Forced demolition of Yanaka Village  
    Court action seeking satisfactory compensation Sumitomo admits smoke hazards
  Third Poisons Survey Committee    
1910     Mediation by Minister of Agriculture and Commerce
    First court decision  
    Shozo Tanaka dies Second compensation discussion meeting
1915 First World War Third compensation discussion meeting  
    Court of Appeal rejects government's appeal Fourth compensation discussion meeting
1920     Fifth compensation discussion meeting
1925     Sixth compensation discussion

a. The bold lines indicate the periods during which the respective issues became social issues. Source: Masuo Sugai, '`Nihon shihon-shugi no kogai mondai - 4 dai dozan kodoku engai jiken.'' Shakai kagaku kenkyuu (University of Tokyo), vol.30, no.4 (1979): 122.

Kosaka copper-mine incident

Hitaki copper-mine incident

  (Water pollution issue)
  Akazawa mine reopens
  Hitachi village chief petitions against mine expansion
  Work plan for pollution prevention
Development of new smelting method  
Smoke hazards start  
Additional smelters constructed  
Kitaakita-gun submits opinion paper Mine purchased by Fusanosuke Kuhara
  First compensation payment
Opposition movement intensifies Daiyuing smelting facility opens
Compensation Agreement 1  
  Anti-smoke hazards movement intensifies
  Movement members visit Besshi mine
Compensation Agreement 2 "Stupid chimney" constructed
Kosaka Copper Poison Removal World's tallest smoke-stack constructed
  High-altitude meteorological observations start
Mediation by Konan Naito  
Compensation Agreement 3  
  High- altitude meteorological observations terminated
Nichino Kosaka Chapter established  
Bamboo spear incident  
Opposition group attacks smelting facility  

Table 1 6. Major Events in Four Mining-related Pollution Issues


Period when the issue surfaced as social problem

Hazards and damages

Residents' movements

Reactions of mining companies and government





Type of movement

Mining companies



Ashio copper- mine issue (1) 1890-1896 Copper poison- ding (flooding of contaminated river water)a Installation of containment facility. or closing of mine Petition and appeal ''Dust- collector''
Intermediate out-of-court settlement
Permanent out-of-court settlement
(Suggestion of out-of-court settlement) 1894-85 Movement interrupted by Sino Japanese War
''Dust-collector" is a production facility
  (2) 1897-1901 Smoke hazardsb Closing of mine and reinstitution of villagers' Demonstration rights Petition and appeal
Demonstration (against government)
Court war
Installation of containment facility by government order First Poisons Survey Committee recommendation for mandated installation of containment facility and villagers' tax exemption)
Oppressive police action
1900 Kawamata Incident
1901 Shozo Tanaka appeals to Emperor; expansion of supporters, activities
  (3) 1902-1907   Closing of mine and cancellation of decision to abolish Yanaka Village Petition and appeal Installation of containment facility by government order Second Poisons Survey Committee (recommendation for mandated installation of containment facility, corrective adjustment of land-price evaluation figures. And construction of catchment basin) 1904-5 Movement disbanded during Russo-Japanese War
1906 Yanaka Village abolished
1907 Forced relocation of remaining Yanaka villagers
Besshi copper- mine issue (1) 1893-1904 Smoke hazards(Araihama refinery)a
Copper poisoning (river water contamination)b
Compensation plus installation of containment facility or closing of mine Petition and appeal (preceded by direct action) Cash donation
Installation of containment facility
Relocation of smelter to Shisakajima
Acquisition by payment of contaminated lands
Oppressive police
Order for installation of containment facility
Order for relocation to Shisakajima
Mediation (failure)
1894 Collective rioting incident
1899 Besshi flood
1901 Extension issue (Shisakajima relocation project)
  (2) 1905-1910 Smoke hazards (Shisakajima refinery)a Reparation of damages plus installation of containment facility or closing of mine
Revision of Mining Law
Petition and appeal
Direct mass negotiation
Negotiation between representatives
No measure taken until 1909
After mediative intervention by government
- Payment of reparations
- Reduction of output
Third Poisons Survey Committee
Mediation by Minister for Agriculture and Commerce
1907 Rioting in Besshi mine
Sumitomo delays admission of smoke hazards
Confrontation between landowners
Kosaka mine issue (1) 1902-1916 Smoke hazardsa
Cooper poisoning (Ynashiro River watershed)b
Compensation plus installation of containment facility Petition and appeal
Mediation by local government office
Direct negotiation
Partial reparations
Installation of containment facility
(Smoke hazards assessment study)
(Recommendation for damage compensation?)
1900 Development of new smelting method - smoke
No measures taken to compensate dam age to national forests
Inadequate compensation and inconsistent containment measures
Confrontations between landowners and tenant farmers
Hitachi mine issue 1907-1914 Smoke hazardsa Compensation plus installation of containment facility Petition and appeal
Mainly direct negotiation
Compensation for damages
Construction of giant smoke-stack
No intervention
"Stupid chimney"
Advantages as latecomer
Post-Second World War economic boom and anti-smoke hazards measures
Kosaka mine issue (2) 1924-1926 Smoke hazardsa Increase in reparation money Direct negotiation
Leadership by farmers' union
Solidarity between miners and farmers
Oppression by violence
Firing of solidarity miners
Agreement on reparation increase
(No direct intervention)
Mediation by local police chief
1924 Nichino Kosaka Chapter established
1926 Bamboo spear incident
1926 Attack on smelting facility

a. Directly triggered opposition movements.
b. Were the indirect cause of the movements.
Source: Masuo Sugai, "Nihon shihon-shugi no kogai modai - 4 dai dozen kodoku engai jiken,'' Shakai kagaku kenkyuu (University of Tokyo) vol. 30, no. 4 (1979): 144.

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