Epidemiology of Chronic Airways Diseases in Japan
After World War II, Japan started reconstruction from a μL very poor socioeconomic condition. In those days, many people were suffering from malnutrition, unemployment, and poor living conditions, so factories had to be started without considering air pollution. As industry grew rapidly, environmental pollution such as air and water pollution spread widely throughout the country. The first health hazard by air pollution after World War II was the so-called Tokyo-Yokohama Asthma episode in the latter half of 1950s. Huber et al reported that some of the US soldiers who came to Japan often complained of unusual asthmatic attacks because of the polluted air in the Tokyo-Yokohama area at that time.
In the 1960s, a severe health hazard by air pollution was reported from Yokkaichi City, where many people in a small village with 2,800 inhabitants living near a newly constructed, large-scale petrochemical complex were suffering from bronchial asthma and persistent cough because of high concentration of sulfides. Air pollution became a severe social problem in many industrial areas throughout the country thereafter. The Government of Japan enacted the law of Relief Measures for the Victims of Pollution-Caused Diseases in 1969. Although this relief law was abolished in 1988, about 100,000 patients living in certain air-polluted areas and suffering from bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis, or emphysema have been treated under this law and are still getting some amount of compensation every month. cheap-asthma-inhalers.com
During these 40 years, Japan has become a highly industrialized country. Medical science and socioeconomic conditions have developed remarkably, too. Although the concentration of SOa in the air has decreased dramatically due to active improvement of control measures at factories, as seen in Figure 1, the concentration of nitrogen oxide is still rather high. Moreover, cigarette smoking among men is as high as 62.5%. To study the recent trend and present status of chronic airways disease (CAD) in Japan under these circumstances, mortality rates from respiratory diseases over the past 35 years were analyzed. At the same time, the results of several surveys on the prevalence of CAD in Japan were published.
Figure 1. Trends in industrial production in Japan and mean sulfur dioxide concentration at 15 observation spots, between 1945 and 1985.