[Column] 3 mysteries about the US Navy sailors’ suing Tepco

By 12/27/2012, eight crew members of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan sued Tepco for the deception and concealment of information. (cf, [Bloomberg] Tepco Sued by U.S. Sailors Exposed to Radiation [Link])

This is where Fukushima Diary started too.
According to Tepco, this is the first case of being sued outside of Japan. Here Fukushima Diary is to suggest 3 mysterious points about this lawsuit.

1. What is the evidence ?

The primary source “Courthouse news service” doesn’t mention the exact figure of the dose or nuclide.
It only states “dangerous levels of radiation”, however, it reads

“”According to then-existing data uniquely known to the defendant at the time, the plaintiffs’ consequent exposure to radiation within their zone of operation, then indicated that radiation levels had already reached levels exceeding the levels of exposure to which those living the same distance from Chernobyl experienced who subsequently developed cancer,” the complaint states.”

What is that “then-existing data uniquely known to the defendant” ? This will be the central figure of this lawsuit and the result would affect thousands of other cases to follow this one, from the inside and the outside of Japan.

2. Why don’t they sue their own government, America ?

If your boss makes you go to somewhere dangerous knowing it is dangerous, it would be the fault of your boss. However in this case, these 8 US Navy sailors don’t sue their own government America but do sue Tepco, and blame Japanese government. If they are sure that American government was also deceived by Tepco and Japanese government, it is questionable why American government doesn’t sue Tepco. These sailors were not given information directly from Tepco or Japanese government, also, US navy must have measured radiation by themselves. NRC was also analyzing the released radioactive material to determine the evacuation zone.

3. Why didn’t Tepco pay hush money ?

Victims are not only these sailors. Other sailors on the rescue mission, stayed in base, ordinary citizens, they were all exposed. It’s not only radiation exposure. Tsunami debris is reaching the west coast of America, sea contamination is affecting entire Pacific ocean and fishers and consumers may be affected. They are all the potential plaintiffs and the sum of compensation will be over national budget of Japan. This has been anticipated since 311.
If Tepco loses, it will break the embankment for the Tsunami of international lawsuits. Even if Tepco wins in the beautiful friendship of nuclear industry, they would still have to take the risk of having inconvenient truth exposed in public. It seems wiser for Tepco to have paid hush money for potential plaintiffs.




Français :

[Édito] 3 mystères sur la plainte des marins américains contre Tepco

Vers le 27 décembre 2012, huit membres d’équipage du porte-avion nucléaire U.S.S. Ronald Reagan ont porté plainte contre Tepco pour tromperie et rétention d’information. (cf. [Bloomberg] Tepco attaqué en justice par des marins américains exposés à la radioactivité [Lien])

C’est aussi alors que le Fukushima Diary a commencé.
Selon Tepco, c’est la première affaire portée en justice en dehors du Japon. Ici, le Fukushima Diary voudrait montrer 3 points mystérieux entourant cette plainte :

1. Quelle est l’évidence ?

La source originelle “Courthouse news service” ne mentionne pas le chiffre exact de la dose reçue ou les nucléides.
Elle affirme seulement “de dangereux niveaux de radioactivité”, toutefois, on peut lire dans la plainte :

“Selon les données existantes à l’époque alors uniquement connues de l’accusé, la sérieuse exposition des plaignants à la radioactivité dans leur zone d’opération indiquait des niveaux ayant déjà dépassé ceux subis par les gens vivant à la même distance de Tchernobyl et en ayant développé des cancers”.

Quelles sont ces “données existantes à l’époque alors uniquement connues de l’accusé” ? Ce sera la pièce essentielle de ce procès et son résultat va affecter des centaines d’autres cas derrière celui-ci, dans et hors du Japon.

2. Pourquoi ne poursuivent-ils pas leur propre gouvernement, l’Amérique ?

Si votre patron vous fait aller dans un endroit dangereux en le sachant, c’est une faute de sa part. Toutefois, dans cette affaire, ces 8 marins américains de l’US Navy ne poursuivent pas leur propre gouvernement mais Tepco et rejettent la responsabilité sur le gouvernement nippon. S’ils sont sûrs que le gouvernement américain a aussi été trompé par Tepco et le gouvernement japonais, on peut se demander pourquoi le gouvernement américain ne poursuit pas Tepco. Ces marins n’ont pas reçu d’information directement de Tepco ou du gouvernement japonais. En outre, l’US navy aurait du mesurer la radioactivité par elle-même. La NRC était aussi en train d’analyser la radioactivité libérée pour en déterminer la zone à évacuer.

3. Pourquoi Tepco n’a-t-elle pas payé de dessous-de-table ?

Les victimes ne sont pas que ces marins. Les autres marins de la mission de secours, ceux restés à la base, les gens ordinaires, ils ont tous été exposés. Il n’y a pas que l’exposition à la radioactivité. les débris du tsunami atteignent la côte ouest de l’Amérique, la contamination de l’océan affecte tout le Pacifique, pêcheurs et consommateurs sont tous potentiellement affectés. Ils sont tous des plaignants potentiels et le total des compensations va dépasser le budget national du Japon. Ceci a été anticipé depuis le 11-3.
Si Tepco perd, ça va briser la digue contre le tsunami des plaintes internationales. Même si Tepco gagne grâce à la superbe amitié de l’industrie nucléaire, ils devront toujours prendre le risque de voir cette vérité dérangeante exposée en public. Il semble plus avisé pour Tepco de s’arranger avec des dessous de tables versés aux plaignants potentiels.

  1. Seems to me that MANY MANY more people should be suing TEPCO. That same disinformation conspiracy caused family friction for Iori and many other people. He chose to leave, they believed the disinformation and stayed, and caused him emotional distress because they could not understand the reasons he left (the government said it was safe…)

    1. I have similar problems. Loved ones who do not speak to me because I do not believe, and I contradict, the people they believe. Who believe it is better to not speak to me because of this disagreement.

  2. Please understand that the only reasons the nuclear industry will stop building and operating these plants is (1) the government forces them to (but they’ve bought the government, or (2) they are made to pay the true cost of their operation – including the damages that result from accidents or the insurance premiums needed to insure against them. If all the true costs of these plants were known, then they would be shut down. lawsuits make the true costs painfully clear to sociopathic company executives and owners.

  3. according to a retired sailor i know, when you enlist in the US armed forces, you sign away your right to file suit against the govt, because you have to obey your orders unquestioningly.

    1. You are right that US servicemen signed away the right to sue the military as part of the terms of their enlistment. Most enlistee’s don’t even realize the full extent of the loss of their civil rights much less basic human rights! Everything becomes a “privalege” and that should’ve been clear to them when they realized that they can’t trust the recruiter or the “promises” made before they sign the contract that won’t be honored unless made in writing! People thinking of enlisting need to consider having a knowledgable legally-versed representative with them and need to closely examine everything before them in the contract or they WILL regret it!! If you can’t trust Uncle sam to have your best interests at heart even when they’re “buying” 4 or 6 years,whatever of your life and allow the C-in-C to send you where THEY want and accept the risks involved including death-they won’t have your best interests at heart then either! But you GO where & when you’re “ordered” to go and perform your mission or you learn about the military justice system the hard way in the Brig waiting for Captain’s Mast(non-judicial punishment) or more serious General Court Martial charges & if the offense(s) were also “civil” law violations you’d be tried in Military AND Civilian Courts=”The DOUBLE Whammy”effect!! But the orders and people giving them are often “substandard” & directed with incompetence although carried out by good people doing their duty as directed & under conditions including but not limited to sending them out into an enviroment known to hold a possibly high element of risk without issuing the proper NBC Warfare protective gear & clothing and RAD body count measurements & nasal swab for Alpha,etc. for those even suspected to have ingested or inhaled anything while performing decon tasks! How can the men & women be criticized for going after TEPCO under the circumstances of their enlistment blocking accountability from the equally guilty US govt.?!! They should be applauded for going after TEPCO & Japan Govt.and I may be wrong,but I was under the impression that G.E. was and is owned by its Japanese counterpart(Toshiba?maybe)but I’m pretty sure Japanese entities had controlling interest of nearly 70% maybe more of the company’s stock when 3/11 occurred and still does now?-Whatever the case the fact that it is bringing the issue into the media spotlight is priceless!!As far as their chances of winning goes,I’m not sure but I sure hope they do! The only thing that can stop people who care only about their money NOW is to COST them more money than they stand to make! So to the I say GOOD LUCK!! Thanks for your service to my Country and its people and I’m sorry for what sorry leadership examples & the even sorrier state of the trashed nuclear facilities & their operators whose flawed construction & safety equipment & actions during the height of the emergency’s early days led to your injuries as well as millions more,many of which will eventually be realized in the near future in addition to the irreversible impacts on the environment & all species suffering genetic damage that will alter natural evolution & history of our world forever…

  4. It would be interesting to crunch the actual numbers over the lifetime of a nuclear plant, including the decommissioning. They always say nuclear power doesn’t use fossil fuels, its clean, cheap, etc. And people apparently buy it. So I’m sure all the mining and refining equipment used to make enriched uranium (which is costly) doesn’t use fossil fuels. Nuclear power currently is NOT cheap and it is NOT clean. NOT NOT NOT

  5. Since this is a civil suit, it probably serves the plaintiff to be vague about the facts and figures here. I’m no lawyer but I think anyone who got too specific at this point in the game runs the risk of making a mistake that will force them to fold before the entire hand is played.

    It seems that the plaintiffs are essentially suing TEPCO and the Japanese government for lying to the US Navy. They are claiming to be in the same boat as the US government and that both are victims. Now for the many people (at least across the Internet) who have suggested that the US government has worked in the shadows with the Japanese Government and nuclear industry to keep the dangers of the Fukushima nuclear disaster hidden, this case holds unusual potential. If that charge were true, a case like this might shed some light on that dark corner to dispel the theory of collusion as false or maybe expose it as the truth.

    In any lawsuit the possibility of an out-of-court settlement, what some might call “hush money,” is always on the table. I assume it is here as well and that this case could simply fade away. The only thing for sure is that, as this catastrophe and the costs to clean up the mess left in its wake continue to reel out of control, any financial burden will in the end fall on the shoulders of Japan’s taxpayers and in some way impact the larger global economy. The truth is, like it or not, we are all in the same boat.

  6. U.S. military personnel cannot sue the U.S. government. Their only choice is to go after INEPTCO. Either the U.S. government will stop this, or it’s actually planned by the gov. to expose the reality of the situation, IMO.

  7. Mochizuki:

    TEPCO apparently has NOT received official documents yet therefore cannot respond/comment/confirm any of this.

    Also, TEPCO was nationalized, so how can they sue TEPCO direcetly?

    Wouldn’t it then be US Govt/Military versus Japanese Govt/TEPCO?

    Long-time reader since 3-11, first time poster. Please reply. Thanks for your work on here I read EVERYDAY and educate myself to the fullest from Canada.

  8. Shortly after issuing that statement in the video, the President fled to the Southern Hemisphere while the fallout plume dusted the US.

    Military personal have a very tough time trying to sue their own US Government. Some are still seeking care for being exposed to Agent Orange from the 60s.

    Just be happy that a lawsuit of some kind was filed, these civil suits are purposely vague and without detail. The good part comes if the ‘discovery’ process is reached where doucuments are requested and subpoenaed and dispositions are taken under oath of any potential witnesses and experts.

    But, and it is a big ‘but’, no telling how this plays out as the nuclear industry is so powerful example: All the plantiffs die in a plane crash or the US President claims ‘executive priviledge’ for all concerned. Or the Court simpley throws the case out for whatever reason. Hard to say what might happen because if it is allowed to go to trial then everyone in the world should be suing for the same reasons.

  9. unlikely the suit will go anywhere, the navy sent them into the rad zone, so, the navy knew what the risks were.

  10. The cost of maintaining spent nuclear waste storage is 23.5 trillion dollars for 100,000 years! That is only for Japan. Hope my great great great grandchildren don’t mind.

  11. Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), combined three pending federal cases for a hearing in certiorari in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the United States is not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to members of the armed forces sustained while on active duty and not on furlough and resulting from the negligence of others in the armed forces. The opinion is an extension of the English common-law concept of sovereign immunity.

    According to Johnson v. United States , 481 U.S. 686-692 (1987), which reaffirmed Feres, the tortfeasor under a Feres analysis does not have to be a member of the armed forces, but can be any civilian employee of the federal government. In Johnson, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot was killed when Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers assumed positive radar control over the helicopter during a rescue mission and caused the aircraft to crash into the side of a mountain on the Hawaiian island of Molakai. The United States escaped liability relying on Feres.

  12. US Military cannot sue their own government. It is in their contracts. Their family members can though.
    They can sue TEPCO althoug I do not know how good that will be.

    The US Military relies on the fact that the half life of most contaminants is within 90 days. The damage is already done before the serviceman has an opportunity to sue or even claim the damages were cause by radiation. A Catch 22 of sorts.
    I was radiated on the USS Ticonderogs CG-47 So much so that they installed a permanent sensing array in my work space just aft of the nuclear missile magazine.
    However my records do not indicate any radiation exposure as it was all hushed up. Now I live with hemiplegia and a myriad of other neural problems.
    I have no recourse against a military that lies and deceives it’s own personnel. The same as the soldiers in Iraq who carried highly radioactive depleted unanium in their clips without being told.Those who today, like me, suffer from radiation damage and sterility or worse have had children born with deformities.
    This is what the American government allows. It lies it deceives and it hides the truth and has done more than 20,000 tests on the American population. Please do not believe me. Instead look it up, do your own research and learn for yourself.

Comments are closed.

About this site

This website updates the latest news about the Fukushima nuclear plant and also archives the past news from 2011. Because it's always updated and added live, articles, categories and the tags are not necessarily fitted in the latest format.
I am the writer of this website. About page remains in 2014. This is because my memory about 311 was clearer than now, 2023, and I think it can have a historical value. Now I'm living in Romania with 3 cats as an independent data scientist.
Actually, nothing has progressed in the plant since 2011. We still don't even know what is going on inside. They must keep cooling the crippled reactors by water, but additionally groundwater keeps flowing into the reactor buildings from the broken parts. This is why highly contaminated water is always produced more than it can circulate. Tepco is planning to officially discharge this water to the Pacific but Tritium is still remaining in it. They dilute this with seawater so that it is legally safe, but scientifically the same amount of radioactive tritium is contained. They say it is safe to discharge, but none of them have drunk it.


December 2012