U.S.sailors sue Japan government, power firm for radiation exposure

Bernadette Carreon – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

San Diego, CA, United States (4E) – The Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company are being sued by eight crewmembers of the USS Ronald Reagan for allegedly concealing the radiation levels to the rescue crews near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last year.

The plaintiffs are arguing that they were exposed to the radiation when they were working as part of the “Operation Tomodachi” off the coast of the Tohoku region following the devastating series of earthquakes and tsunami that resulted in the nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011.

Based on Japan newspaper news and the Courthouse News Service in the U.S., the plaintiffs assert that the government and TEPCO possessed data about the radiation leakage that they suppressed, thus willfully exposing Navy rescue workers to dangerous levels of radiation- the same amount of radiation that resulted in cancer at Chernobyl.

The sailors are each seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages for fraud, negligence, strict liability, failure to warn, public and private nuisance and defective design, Courthouse News Service reported.

The suit also calls for TEPCO to establish a fund of $100 million to pay for the medical expenses of crew who they say face “additional and irreparable harm to their life expectancy, which has been shortened and cannot be restored to its prior condition.”

The case was filed at the U.S. court in San Diego.

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