Each year, hundreds of people gather in cities across the UK to raise awareness of mesothelioma, to call for better treatment and care for mesothelioma patients and more funding for mesothelioma research, for prevention of exposure to asbestos, and to ban mining and export of asbestos to developing countries.
In 2017, Forum groups were delighted to welcome a delegation of 20 Japanese campaigners at Action Mesothelioma Day events across the country this year. This solidarity visit was organised by the national network of asbestos victims support groups in Japan, where the number of mesothelioma cases is on the rise. The delegation was made up of people with asbestos diseases, bereaved family members, trade unionists and asbestos campaigners. There are many cases of environmental exposure in Japan, people who contracted mesothelioma because they lived close to asbestos factories, in addition to those who were exposed at work. We were moved to hear the sad stories from those who had lost loved ones to mesothelioma in Japan.
The UK still has the worst incidence of mesothelioma in the world but this disease does not recognise borders and it is clear that people in Japan, and many other countries, also suffer from this man-made epidemic. AMD events saw doves released in memory of all those who have lost their lives to mesothelioma and MPs address rallies across the UK. Forum groups raised money for mesothelioma research in the build-up to Action Mesothelioma Day as they do every year and called for Government action to ensure sustainable funding for mesothelioma research.
We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to our friends from Japan who contributed so much to Action Mesothelioma Day this year. Your solidarity meant so much to us. It highlighted the international nature of the asbestos epidemic. We have made good friends and look forward to continuing our joint struggle for justice for all asbestos victims and their families.