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U.S. Sailors Sue Over Japanese Radiation ‘Lies’

December 31, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Gastrointestinal Imaging, Medical Ethics, Neuroradiology
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Eight U.S. Navy personnel and a 1-year-old girl have sued the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) because of radiation exposure during relief efforts following the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The plaintiffs all served aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier—except for the little girl. She’s the daughter of Kim Gieseking, one of the other eight plaintiffs, who was pregnant with the child at the time of the quake.

The lawsuit says TEPCO deceived Navy officers about radiation levels from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. TEPCO and the Japanese government “kept representing that there was no danger of radiation contamination to the USS Reagan and/or its crew, that ‘everything is under control, all is OK, you can trust us,'” the lawsuit says.

As a result, according to the suit, personnel from the Reagan got too close to the Fukushima reactor and were exposed to far higher levels of radiation than they were told existed. Japanese officials said there was “‘no immediate danger’ or threat to human life, all the while lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdowns,” the suit says.

Attorney Paul Garner told NBC News that the plaintiffs suffer from symptoms of radiation exposure, including rectal bleeding, thyroid problems, and migraine headaches. The lawsuit says:

The plaintiffs must now endure a lifetime of radiation poisoning and suffering which could and should have been avoided.

Garner told NBC, “The carrier was less than two football fields away from the Fukushima Daiichi when it released a cloud of radiation.”

The plaintiffs are seeking $10 million apiece in compensatory damages, plus $30 million in punitive damages, plus the creation of a $100 million fund to cover the costs of medical monitoring and treatments.

In October, according to Agence France Presse, TEPCO admitted it had played down known tsunami risks because of potential political and financial costs and damage to its reputation. The company said last month that the cost of cleanup and compensation related to the Fukushima disaster may reach $125 billion.

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Researchers think they’re close to creating a (relatively) quick blood test to identify people who have been exposed to radiation and measure the dose. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related seminar: UCSF Radiology Review: COMPREHENSIVE IMAGING

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One Response to “U.S. Sailors Sue Over Japanese Radiation ‘Lies’”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Billions Sought In Fukushima Radiation Lawsuits on March 22nd, 2013 at 11:18 am

    […] December 2012, as we reported, eight current and former U.S. Navy personnel and a 1-year-old girl born to a servicewoman who was […]