8 U.S. Sailors Stationed in San Diego Sue Japanese for Lying about Radiation at Fukushima Plant

Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Washdown on USS Reagan after Fukushima disaster

American sailors who helped in the rescue effort following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are suing Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for lying about the dangers of radiation that leaked from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. TEPCO is now owned by the Japanese government.

Eight members of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, home-ported in San Diego, claim that they will most likely die prematurely as a result of being exposed to radiation that leaked from the crippled plant.

“The carrier was less than two football fields away from the Fukushima Daiichi when it released a cloud of radiation,” attorney Paul Garner, who is representing the plaintiffs, told NBC News.

The sailors seek damages of $40 million each. They also want TEPCO to establish a $100 million fund to pay for any of their future medical expenses. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

A host of medical conditions have plagued the sailors since the exposure, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, rectal bleeding and thyroid problems.

The lawsuit states that TEPCO knew radiation levels from the plant had surpassed what “those living the same distance from Chernobyl experienced who subsequently developed cancer.”

Using blunt language it goes on to say, “The Japanese government kept representing that there was no danger of radiation contamination to the U.S.S. Reagan (CVN-76) and/or its crew, that ‘everything is under control,’ ‘all is OK, you can trust us,’ and there is ‘no immediate danger’ or threat to human life, all the while lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdowns.”

The litigants are Lindsay Cooper, James Sutton, Kim Gieseking, Charles Yarris, Robert Miller, Christopher Bittner, Eric Membrila and Judy Goodwin.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Sailors Sue Japan Utility over Radiation Exposure (by Bradley J. Fikes, U-T San Diego)

Tokyo Electric Sued by U.S. Sailors Exposed to Radiation (by Joe Schneider, Bloomberg)

US Sailors Sue Japanese Utility over Radiation Exposure (by Matthew Burke, Stars & Stripes)

US Sailors Sue Japan's TEPCO for Post-Quake Radiation Exposure (by Kari Huus, NBC News)

Lindsay Cooper et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company (U.S. District Court, Southern California) (pdf)

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