The trend toward class-action law suits against auto companies isn't just an American phenomenon. The Straits Times reports that major Japanese automakers and the Tokyo city government have settled a lawsuit filed by asthma patients 11 years ago over the city's air pollution. More than 520 Tokyo residents claimed that diesel fumes caused their asthma (before authorities imposed strict standards in 2003). The settlement specifies $29m to set up a five-year health plan and a one-time $10.9m payment to the plaintiffs (and their lawyers). Plaintiff Hiroko Ozawa was not satisfied with the pay-out. "The benefits will only be given to asthma patients, not to those suffering chronic bronchitis and other lung problems."
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