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2015 (Gyo-Hi) 349

2017.04.06
2015 (Gyo-Hi) 349
Minshu Vol. 71, No. 4
Judgment on whether or not a lawsuit, seeking a revocation of a decision received by a worker regularly engaged in dusty work or a similar person to the effect that he falls under No. I of the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis, and filed by such worker, etc. on the grounds that he actually falls under No. IV of such classification, can be taken over by the persons specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act if such worker dies during the pendency of such lawsuit
Case seeking a revocation of a decision on the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis
Judgment of the First Petty bench, quashed and remanded
Fukuoka High Court, Judgment of April 16, 2015
If a worker who is, or a person who used to be a worker who was, regularly engaged in dusty work received a decision that he fell under No. I of the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis and then died during the pendency of a lawsuit that he had filed claiming that he actually fell under No. IV of such classification and seeking a revocation of such decision, the persons specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act may take over such lawsuit.
Article 124, paragraph (1) of the Code of Civil Procedure; Article 4, Article 13, paragraph (2) and Articles 15 and 23 of the Pneumoconiosis Act; Article 11, paragraph (1) and Article 12-8, paragraph (2) of the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act; Article 75 of the Labor Standards Act; Article 35 and Appended Table 1-2, item (v) of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Labor Standards Act; and Article 9, paragraph (1) of the Administrative Case Litigation Act



Code of Civil Procedure

Article 124 (1) If any of the grounds listed in the following items exist, an action shall be discontinued. In this case, the person specified in the respective items shall take over the action:

(i) A party's death: The party's heir, administrator of the inherited property or any other person who should continue the action under laws or regulations

(ii) Extinction by merger of a juridical person who is a party: The juridical person established by the merger or juridical person surviving the merger

(iii) A party's loss of capacity to sue or be sued, or a statutory agent's death or extinction of the authority of representation: The party's statutory agent or the party who has acquired the capacity to sue or be sued

(iv) Termination of duties concerning a trust assigned to each of the persons listed in (a) to (c) below: The respective person specified in (a) to (c)

(a) The trustee who is a party: A new trustee or the trust property administrator or incorporated trust property administrator

(b) The trust property administrator or incorporated trust property administrator who is a party: A new trustee or a new trust property administrator or new incorporated trust property administrator

(c) The trust caretaker who is a party: The beneficiary or a new trust caretaker

(v) A person who has a certain status and acts as a party to the suit in his/her own name on behalf of another has lost his/her status upon death or on any other grounds: A person who has the same status

(vi) All appointed parties' loss of status upon death or on any other grounds: All appointers or a newly appointed party



Pneumoconiosis Act

Article 4 (1) Radiographic appearances of pneumoconiosis shall be classified into the four categories from Categories I to IV as specified in the right column of the following table:



CategoryI:Those which are found to contain a small number of granular or irregular opacities due to pneumoconiosis in both lung fields and no large opacities.



II:Those which are found to contain a large number of granular or irregular opacities due to pneumoconiosis in both lung fields and no large opacities.



III:Those which are found to contain a very large number of granular or irregular opacities due to pneumoconiosis in both lung fields and no large opacities.



IV:Those which are found to contain large opacities.



(2) Workers currently engaged in, and persons who used to be workers engaged in, dusty work shall be subject to health supervision in compliance with the provisions of this Act, by being classified into the four groups from Nos. I to IV as shown in the right column of the following table, based on the results of pneumoconiosis examination:



Classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis No. I:Persons found not affected by pneumoconiosis.



No. II:Persons whose radiographic appearances are found to correspond to Category I and who show no indication of a considerable degree of pulmonary dysfunction due to pneumoconiosis



No. III A:Persons whose radiographic appearances are found to correspond to Category II and who show no indication of a considerable degree of pulmonary dysfunction due to pneumoconiosis

B:Persons whose radiographic appearances are found to correspond to Category III or IV (with no large opacities larger than one-third of either lung field) and who show no indication of a considerable degree of pulmonary dysfunction due to pneumoconiosis



No. IV:(1) Persons whose radiographic appearances are found to correspond to Category IV (with one or more large opacities larger than one-third of either lung field)

(2) Persons whose radiographic appearances are found to correspond to Category I, II, III or IV (with no large opacities larger than one-third of either lung field) and who shows indications of a considerable degree of pulmonary dysfunction due to pneumoconiosis



Article 13

(2) Upon receipt, pursuant to the preceding article, of a radiograph, a written document certifying the results of pneumoconiosis examination and other documents stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare ordinance, the Director-General of the Prefectural Labor Bureau shall determine the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis for the relevant worker on the basis of the documents received and based on diagnosis or examination by a Prefectural Pneumoconiosis Examination Physician.



Article 15 (1) A worker who is regularly engaged in dusty work or a person who was formerly a worker regularly engaged in dusty work may, at any time, undergo a pneumoconiosis examination and apply for a determination of classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis to the Director-General of the Prefectural Labor Bureau as provided for the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare ordinance.

(2) An application filed under the provisions of the preceding paragraph shall be accompanied by a radiograph, a written document certifying the results of pneumoconiosis examination and other documents stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare ordinance.

(3) The provisions of Article 13, paragraphs (2) through (4) and paragraph (1) of the preceding Article shall apply mutatis mutandis to cases where an application was filed under the provisions of paragraph (1). In this case, “the preceding Article” in Article 13, paragraph (2) shall be read as “Article 15, paragraph (2),” “the employer” in paragraphs (3) and (4) of the same Article as “the applicant,” and “the employer concerned” and “Article 12 or paragraph (3) or (4) of the preceding Article” in paragraph (1) of the preceding Article as “the applicant and the employer who employs the applicant” and “paragraph (3) or (4) of the preceding Article or paragraph (2) of the following Article,” respectively.



Article 23 Persons whose classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis has been determined as No. IV or who have been found to have a complication(s) shall require medical treatment.



Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act

Article 11 (1) Where a person entitled the right to receive insurance benefits under this Act died and any part of the insurance benefits payable to the deceased person remains unpaid to said person, his/her spouse (including a person who has not made a notification of marriage but has been in a de facto marital relationship with the deceased person; the same shall apply hereinafter), children, parents, grandchildren, grandparents or siblings who shared living expenses with the deceased person at the time of his/her death (in the case of the compensation pension for surviving family, other surviving family members eligible to receive said compensation pension for surviving family, and in the case of the pension for surviving family, other surviving family members eligible to receive said pension for surviving family) may claim payment of the unpaid insurance benefits in their own names.

Article 12-8

(2) The insurance benefits set forth in the preceding paragraph (excluding the injury and disease compensation pension and the nursing care compensation benefits) shall, where any of the grounds for accident compensation prescribed in Articles 75 through 77, 79 and 80 of the Labor Standards Act or those for accident compensation prescribed in Article 89, paragraph (1), Article 91, paragraph (1), the main text of Article 92, and Articles 93 and 94 of the Mariners Act (Act No. 100 of 1947) has arisen, be paid to a worker or surviving family members who are to receive compensation or to a person who conducts the funeral, based on their claims.



Labor Standards Act

Article 75 (1) In the event that a Worker suffers an injury or illness in the course of employment, the Employer shall furnish necessary medical treatment at its expense, or shall bear the expense for necessary medical treatment.

(2) The scope of illnesses in the course of employment and of medical treatment under the provisions of the preceding paragraph shall be established by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.





Ordinance for Enforcement of the Labor Standards Act

Article 35 The scope of illness in the course of employment pursuant to the provision of paragraph (2) of Article 75 of the Act shall be shown in appended table 1-2.



Appended Table 1-2

(v) Pneumoconiosis or illness listed in the items of Article 1 of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Pneumoconiosis Act (Ordinance No. 6 of the Ministry of, Labor 1960) which are complication of pneumoconiosis prescribed by the Pneumoconiosis Act (Act No. 30, 1960) due to jobs done in places where particulate is scattered.



Administrative Case Litigation Act

Article 9 (1) An action for the revocation of an original administrative disposition and an action for the revocation of an administrative disposition on appeal (hereinafter referred to as "actions for the revocation of administrative dispositions") may be filed only by a person who has legal interest to seek the revocation of the original administrative disposition or of the administrative disposition on appeal (including a person who has legal interest to be recovered by revoking the original administrative disposition or administrative disposition on appeal even after it has lost its effect due to the expiration of a certain period or for other reasons).
Of the judgment of prior instance, the part related to the appellants is quashed.

For the part referred to in the preceding paragraph, this case is remanded to the Fukuoka High Court.
Reasons for the petition for acceptance of final appeal filed by the counsel for the appeal, FUKAHORI Hisami (excluding the part that has been excluded)



1. In this case, person A, who was a worker engaged in such work as the management of building equipment, requested from the Director-General of the Fukuoka Labor Bureau a decision on his classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis under Article 15, paragraph (1) of the Pneumoconiosis Act, and received a decision that he fell under No. I (hereinafter referred to as the “Decision”). In response, A filed this suit against the appellee, claiming that A should fall under No. IV based on the results of his pneumoconiosis examination and requesting, among other things, a revocation of the Decision. Since A died after the close of the oral argument of the first instance of this case, the appellants, who are A’s wife and children, filed a petition for taking over of action in the prior instance, claiming that they had taken over A’s status in this case by inheritance, and whether or not this claim is acceptable has been a point at issue.

2. The outline of facts related to the case which became final and binding in the judgment of prior instance is as described below:

(1) Provisions of relevant laws and regulations

(a) The Pneumoconiosis Act defines “pneumoconiosis” as diseases consisting mainly of fibrotic changes in the lungs due to inhalation of dust (Article 2, paragraph (1), item (i)). With respect to workers engaged in dusty work or similar persons, the Pneumoconiosis Act provides the procedure for determining their classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis ranging from No. I to No. IV, and sets forth measures for health supervision related to pneumoconiosis, as well as other necessary measures, such as a requirement that the business operator give consideration to the nature of work to be engaged in by these workers according to their respective classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis.

The specific procedure for determining the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis is that if the Director-General of the Prefectural Labor Bureau receives (i) from a business operator a radiograph, a written document certifying the results of pneumoconiosis examination, etc. of a worker who has been diagnosed as having indications of pneumoconiosis or (ii) a request from a worker who is regularly engaged in dusty work or a person who was formerly a worker regularly engaged in dusty work (hereinafter referred to as a “Worker, etc.”) in response to a pneumoconiosis examination or a request from a business operator who conducted pneumoconiosis examination on such Worker, etc. (hereinafter each of these requests is referred to as a “Casual Request”), the Director-General shall determine the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis of such Worker, etc. on the basis of the radiograph, etc. received and based on diagnosis or examination by a Prefectural Pneumoconiosis Examination Physician (Article 39 of said Act) (Article 13, paragraph (2), Article 15, paragraph (3) and Article 16, paragraph (2) of said Act).

The classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis classifies persons whose results of pneumoconiosis examination show no indication of pneumoconiosis into No. I and those whose pneumoconiosis examination results show indications of pneumoconiosis into Nos. II through IV according to the degree of progress of the disease (Article 4, paragraph (2) of said Act). Of these persons, those who are determined to fall under No. IV “shall require medical treatment” (Article 23 of said Act).

(b) The Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act (hereinafter referred to as the “IACI Act”) specifies the insurance benefits in respect of injury, disease, disability or death of workers resulting from an employment-related cause (hereinafter referred to as the “IACI Benefits”) as medical compensation benefits (payment of benefits for medical treatment or payment of expenses of medical treatment in lieu of granting benefits for medical treatment) and other benefits (Article 7, paragraph (1), item (i), Article 12-8, paragraph (1) and Article 13), and provides that the IACI Benefits shall, where disease has resulted from an employment-related cause or other grounds for accident compensation have arisen, be paid to a worker or his/her surviving family members who are to receive compensation or to a person who conducts the funeral, based on their claims (Article 12-8, paragraph (2)). In this context, “[p]neumoconiosis … due to jobs done in places where particulates are scattered” is listed as an illness resulting from an employment-related cause in Article 35 and Appended Table 1-2, item (v) of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Labor Standards Act.

Where a person entitled to the right to receive insurance benefits under the IACI Act has died and any part of the insurance benefits payable to the deceased person remains unpaid to said person, the persons specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of said Act, namely, the deceased person’s spouse, children, etc. who shared living expenses with the deceased person at the time of his/her death (hereinafter referred to as the “Surviving Family Members Specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the IACI Act”) may claim payment of the unpaid insurance benefits in their own names. In the case described above, if the deceased person had not claimed payment of insurance benefits before his/her death, the aforementioned surviving family members may claim payment of the insurance benefits in their own names (paragraph (2) of said Article).

(c) The notification entitled “Enforcement of the Amended Pneumoconiosis Act” issued by the Director-General of the Labor Standards Bureau of the Department of Labor (DG/LSB Notification No. 250 dated April 28, 1978; hereinafter referred to as the “Notification”) provides that pneumoconiosis in a person determined to fall under No. IV of the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis shall be handled as a work-related illness as listed in Appended Table 1-2, item (v) of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Labor Standards Act, and that the procedure for recognizing such pneumoconiosis shall be as follows in summary:

(i) If a request for payment of IACI Benefits is received from a person who has been determined to fall under No. IV, the written notice of decision of the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis and other documents for such person shall be checked, and the prescribed administrative work shall be done by deeming that the onset of the disease took place on the date of pneumoconiosis examination.

(ii) If a request for payment of IACI Benefits is received from a person who has not been determined to fall under No. IV, the person shall be instructed to make a Casual Request, and the prescribed administrative work mentioned in (i) above shall be done only after such person’s classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis has been determined in response to such request.

(2) Circumstances leading up to this suit

(a) A was engaged in such work as the management of building equipment for approximately 15 years. On June 27, 2009, after he had retired, he received a pneumoconiosis examination and was diagnosed as falling under No. IV. In response, on September 24, 2009 A requested from the Director-General of the Fukuoka Labor Bureau for a decision on his classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis.

(b) On November 2, 2009 the Director-General of the Fukuoka Labor Bureau made the Decision that A fell under No. I, based on the Prefectural Pneumoconiosis Examination Physician’s review.

(c) A made a request for examination from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, seeking a revocation of the Decision. On March 31, 2010, however, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare made a determination to reject A’s request for examination (hereinafter referred to as the Minister’s Determination”).

(d) On September 29, 2010, A filed this suit seeking a revocation of the Decision and the Minister’s Determination (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Decisions”) and claiming government compensation. However, A died on September 14, 2013, after the close of the oral argument of the first instance.

(e) On December 10, 2013, the court of the first instance found that A fell under No. II or above, and made a judgment that revoked the Decision, rejected A’s request for a revocation of the Minister’s Determination, and dismissed A’s remaining claim (i.e., the claim for government compensation). In response, the appellee appealed to the court of prior instance. On June 6, 2014, the appellants, who are A’s wife and children, filed a petition for taking over of action, claiming that they had taken over A’s status in this case by inheritance.

3. Based on the facts related to the case described above, the court of prior instance revoked the judgment of the first instance (except the part related to the claim for government compensation) and declared the case closed, ruling that this case automatically terminated due to A’s death because, while the legal interest that was otherwise to be recovered by a revocation of the Decisions was A’s status to receive a decision on his classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis of No. II or above, the appellants could not take over such status of A as his heirs, since the status of a Worker, etc. to receive a decision on his/her classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis under the Pneumoconiosis Act was specific and personal to the Worker, etc.

4. However, the ruling of the court of prior instance described above is unacceptable for the following reasons:

(1)(a) Decisions by the Director-General of a Prefectural Labor Bureau on the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis are made with respect to workers who are engaged in dusty work or persons who were formerly workers engaged in dusty work, and classify persons who show no indication of pneumoconiosis into No. I and those who show indications of pneumoconiosis into Nos. II through IV according to the degree of progress of the disease, by confirming the presence or absence of indications of pneumoconiosis and the degree of its progress on the basis of pneumoconiosis examination results and based on examination, etc. of a Prefectural Pneumoconiosis Examination Physician who has reasonable knowledge and experience in pneumoconiosis, in order to allow health supervision and other necessary measures related to pneumoconiosis to be conducted appropriately (Article 4, paragraph (2) of the Pneumoconiosis Act).

Article 23 of said Act provides that persons whose classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis has been determined as No. IV shall require medical treatment. The Court considers that this is a provision corresponding to the fact that medical compensation benefits may be paid for “[p]neumoconiosis … due to jobs done in places where particulates are scattered” since this is listed as a work-related illness for which IACI Benefits may be paid, and that the provision intends to ensure that IACI Benefits will be received smoothly and easily by persons who have been determined by the Director-General of the relevant Prefectural Labor Bureau to fall under No. IV based on a specialist’s judgment on the basis of pneumoconiosis examination results as described above, on the grounds that their pneumoconiosis constitutes the aforementioned work-related illness. It is then reasonable to understand that said Article allows a Worker, etc. who has pneumoconiosis falling under No. IV and who has received a decision to that effect on the classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis to receive such IACI Benefits without going through again a substantial examination as to whether or not his/her pneumoconiosis constitutes the aforementioned work-related illness.

(b) On the other hand, the Notification requires that in conducting administrative work related to IACI Benefits for pneumoconiosis, pneumoconiosis in a person who has been determined to fall under No. IV be handled as a work-related illness, whereas if a claim for IACI Benefits is made for pneumoconiosis by a person who has not been determined to fall under No. IV, such person be, in principle, instructed to make a Casual Request and the prescribed administrative work be conducted only after a decision has been made, and in accordance with the conclusion of the decision, made in response to such request on such person’s classification for supervision of pneumoconiosis. In light of Article 23 of the Pneumoconiosis Act, the relevant provisions of the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act and other provisions described above, this follows that in the administrative work related to IACI Benefits for pneumoconiosis, a case of pneumoconiosis that has been determined to fall under No. IV is supposed to be deemed a work-related illness as described in (a) above, whereas if a Worker, etc. who has been determined to fall under No. I makes a claim for IACI Benefits, it would be certain that he/she will not be entitled to receive such IACI Benefits on the grounds that his/her pneumoconiosis is not deemed such a work-related illness.

(c) Based on the above, while a Worker, etc. who has received a decision that he/she falls under No. I from the Director-General of the relevant Prefectural Labor Bureau through the prescribed procedure, has a legal interest to raise an objection to, and seek a revocation of, such decision, this legal interest should not be considered lost as a result of the death of the Worker, etc. so long as his/her Surviving Family Members Specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the IACI Act exist who are entitled to claim the unpaid IACI Benefits (if any) payable to such Worker, etc. for pneumoconiosis, considering that these surviving family members obtain by succession the claim for the IACI Benefits for pneumoconiosis held by the deceased Worker, etc. (paragraphs (1) and (2) of said Article). This interpretation is considered reasonable in light of the fact that, as is the case with this case, if a Worker, etc. who has received a decision that he/she falls under No. I dies after filing a suit seeking a revocation of such decision and if the aforementioned surviving family members of the Worker, etc. are not allowed to take over the suit, it will be certain that the surviving family members will not be entitled to receive such IACI Benefits and will be forced to file another suit to seek a revocation of such decision.

(d) Therefore, it is reasonable to understand that if a Worker, etc. who has received a decision that he/she falls under No. I dies during the pendency of a suit seeking a revocation of such decision, the suit does not automatically terminate due to the death of the Worker, etc. but is taken over by his/her Surviving Family Members Specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the IACI Act who are entitled to claim the unpaid IACI Benefits (if any) payable to such Worker, etc. for pneumoconiosis. This should also apply to a suit seeking a revocation of a determination to reject a request for review of such decision.

(2) If we apply the above arguments to this case, this suit does not automatically terminate due to A’s death but is taken over by the appellants as his Surviving Family Members Specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the IACI Act if the appellants shared living expenses with A at the time of his death, since A received the Decision that he fell under No. I, filed this suit seeking a revocation of the Decisions on the grounds that he fell under No. IV, and then died during the pendency of this suit, followed by a petition for taking over of action filed by the appellants who are A’s wife and children.

5. The ruling by the court of prior instance described above is inconsistent with the above and contains violations of law that obviously affect the judgment of prior instance. The gist of the argument of the petition for appeal is well-grounded in that it is consistent with the above, and therefore the part of the judgment of prior instance related to the appellants should inevitably be quashed. We now remand that part of this case to the court of prior instance in order to have it further and fully hear the case as to, among others, whether or not the appellants constitute the Surviving Family Members Specified in Article 11, paragraph (1) of the IACI Act.

Accordingly, the Court unanimously decides as set forth in the main text.
Justice IKEGAMI Masayuki

Justice OTANI Naoto

Justice KOIKE Hiroshi

Justice KIZAWA Katsuyuki
(This translation is provisional and subject to revision.)