Over 22,000 public housing units across Japan contained asbestos

A treated asbestos ceiling in a public housing complex. Via NHK.

A survey by public broadcaster NHK has found that there were over 22,000 apartments in public housing complexes across Japan that were built with materials containing hazardous asbestos.

From the findings, a professor from the Tokyo Institute of Technology has suggested that there is a possibility that as many as 230,000 former residents could have inhaled asbestos fibers while living in these apartments. While this does not mean that every former resident will suffer from health problems, the professor did point out that further information is needed from the national and local governments.

The investigation was carried out by NHK and the Japan Association of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related Disease Victims and their Families. According to the results, the 22,000 apartments included 8,700 units in public housing complexes that once contained spray-on asbestos, as well as units in city housing and UR housing where minuscule amounts of asbestos were used in spray-on materials. They did not have access to data on public housing complexes that have already been demolished, so the number could be higher than estimated.

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