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Dec-30-2013 09:47printcomments

PRESS TV: US Sailors Sue Japan's TEPCO Over Radiation Sickness

They say TEPCO failed to notify first responders of the serious radiation levels from the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant

An aerial file photo of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
An aerial file photo of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

(SAN DIEGO) - Several dozen US Navy sailors and Marines who conducted aid and rescue operations in earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan, carried out their international aid duties during a nuclear meltdown. The affected Naval personnel have filed a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company, (TEPCO) for serious health problems; half of those suing TEPCO have cancer.

The attorneys representing the sailors and Marines say many have developed brain tumors, uterine bleeding, thyroid cancer, Leukemia, digestive disorders and other health conditions typically caused by exposure to radiation. They were aboard the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, and half a dozen other Naval ships in the fleet.

Their ship was anchored a mile away from the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant, during the initial phase of the disaster. The plaintiffs say they could have taken different precautions and avoided becoming sick and possibly having their lives cut short, if TEPCO had exhibited proper responsibility and notified the US government that there was excessive radiation.

More than 70 military personnel are involved in the lawsuit, but one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, says a thousand times that many people are actually affected.

"This is a civil rights environmental lawsuit not only for the victims but for all people impacted by nuclear power," said Attorney Charles Bonner, Co-Counsel for the Plaintiffs. "Seventy thousand first responders are at risk, in fact we're all at risk, the water will reach San Diego in 2015."

    The men and women say TEPCO downplayed the danger of nuclear radiation on the site. The carrier's water supply became contaminated, that in turn led to crew members drinking, washing their bodies and brushing their teeth with contaminated water. Attorney Paul Garner, who is representing 51 sailors, said, “We’re seeing leukemia, testicular cancer and unremitting gynecological bleeding requiring transfusions and other intervention.” Garner says clients are suffering thyroid polyps and other thyroid diseases.

At this point, a judge has ruled that attorneys have until Jan 6, 2014, to re-file their case.

The attorneys are representing clients like Matthew Bradley, a US Marine active reservist, who worked with Marine helicopters in both administration and maintenance.

He says the Marines worked in the radioactivity for some time until steps were taken to protect them, "It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that they gave us 'paint suits', protective gear, but we were unprotected for several weeks."

Brady added, "I received no protection."

The article continues Press TV




Tim King specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide. His years as a Human
Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in
2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine. Tim is the news editor
for Salem-News.com and holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional
mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards
from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and The Red Cross
More articles by Tim King


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.