U.S. Sailors Sue Japanese Company Over Radiation Injuries Following The Fukushima Disaster

260px-Fukushima_I_by_Digital_Globe220px-ChopperDecon2011There is a little reported story about U.S. service members who have developed cancer and other illnesses after serving in the rescue efforts following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In an account that could have easily been written for the nuclear tests in the 1950s, service members have said that the Navy told them that there was no harm from radiation so long as they avoided the plume rising from the plant.

Both Quartermaster Maurice Enis and his fiancé (and fellow quartermaster) Jamie Plym came down with radiation illness after serving on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. Plym developed severe bronchitis and hemorrhaging while Enis developed lumps all over his body. Some 50 crew members on the Reagan and sister ship the USS Essex now trace illnesses including thyroid and testicular cancers, leukemia and brain tumors. They have filed a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which allegedly delayed warnings about the radiation in the water. TEPCO officials have been repeatedly accused of lying or misrepresenting dangers since the disasters and have shown stunning incompetence in dealing with the continued contamination of the ocean water.

Because of the infamous Feres Doctrine, they cannot sue the military for negligence though the litigants insists it was TEPCO the actively withheld risk data to get them to work in dangerous areas.

53 thoughts on “U.S. Sailors Sue Japanese Company Over Radiation Injuries Following The Fukushima Disaster

  1. Bigfatmike:

    We can never fully understand or trust the military leadership given past history. I will stipulate there are many ethical and upstanding individuals but the organization as a whole has a terrible record with soldiers’ health.

    My father-in-law tells a completely fitting story to this. While in the Marine Corps in the 50’s he and his unit were marched outdoors and they formed up facing a priest standing on a platform. The priest held aloft a Bible and in a sermon like voice declared “I have seen the miracle in the desert…If you too want to see the miracle in the desert take two steps forward.”

    Well my father-in-law and another guy were suspicious, they looked at each other and took two steps backward. The rest of the “volunteers” were transported out and became guinea pigs for some nuke test. He found out later that many of them ended up getting radiation disease.

    So he adopted the philosophy of “Never trust management.”

  2. Darren,
    Just dug your comment out of the spam filter. What’s the deal with all the spams that are hundreds of lines long? Many of them are nothing but masses of links to marketing sites. SEO groups trying to get their numbers up?

    The extreme length of most of the recent spams makes it hard to find recent legitimate comments.

  3. Does the Feres Doctrine include the non-military spouses and children of service members? They, too, use military hospitals and military-provided amenities.

  4. I think the military needs to figure out a way to make this go away…. I’m thinking that this is an international disaster waiting to happen….. I would not be surprised if the harm to be expected was actually known…. This is kinda like a newer version of agent orange….

  5. bigfatmike
    It is a sad situation… The lack of honest journalism in America. Most of it is corporate or Governmental talking points to protect their interests. Check out the special relationships listed in the NRC.gov link. From the horse itself.

    As for the command issue… It is difficult to give proper orders of protection when information from TEPCO was withheld from the Japanese government. Thus, lack of relayed info to the US Gov. That’s the essence of the law suit. Corporate/government relationships.

  6. BFM, “If nothing else, what military unit would deploy to the vicinity of a nuclear melt down and fail to activate radiation sensors?”

    That is the question.

  7. one thought on this, brain cancer and testicular cancer, from what I understand, are slow growing. Would 18 months to 2 years be enough time for them to present symptoms?

  8. @Bron “one thought on this, brain cancer and testicular cancer, from what I understand, are slow growing. Would 18 months to 2 years be enough time for them to present symptoms?”

    That is a relevant and interesting point.

    Any incident like this raises questions regarding which cases would have occurred under any circumstances and which cases reasonably are associated with the event.

    I am pretty sure we can look forward to years of investigation by scores of statisticians, epidemiologists, oncologists and other specialists.

    Somebody is going to be making lots of money – just not the people who have been hurt, not for years anyway

  9. I wonder how many former soldiers of the 84th Engr. Bn., Schofield Bks. Hi are still alive after scraping radioactive soil off the Enewetak Atoll in 1976……OOOOOh, nobody knew about that…..

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