American Sailors Sue Tepco for Lying about Fukushima

On the USS Ronald Reagan for Rescue Work

Preface:  Before you get too mad at the Japanese, remember that the U.S. government and nuclear industry are just as bad.  And America is largely dictating Japanese nuclear policy.

Courthouse News Service reports:

Eight crew members of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, whose home port is San Diego, sued the Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Federal Court.

They claim the utility company, “a wholly owned public benefit subsidiary of the government of Japan,” misrepresented radiation levels to lull the U.S. Navy “into a false sense of security.”

Lead plaintiff Lindsay R. Cooper claims Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) intentionally concealed the dangerous levels of radiation in the environment from U.S. Navy rescue crews working off the coast of Japan after the March 10, 2011 earthquake and tsunami set off the nuclear disaster.

“TEPCO pursued a policy to cause rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the FNPP [Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant] that had been damaged. Relying upon the misrepresentations regarding health and safety made by TEPCO … the U.S. Navy was lulled into a false sense of security,” the complaint states.


Six of the eight plaintiffs worked on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier; two worked in air contamination or the “air department.” One sued also on behalf of her infant daughter.

Japan called the relief effort Operation Tomadachi.

The complaint states: “Defendant TEPCO and the government of Japan, conspired and acted in concert, among other things, to create an illusory impression that the extent of the radiation that had leaked from the site of the FNPP was at levels that would not pose a threat to the plaintiffs, in order to promote its interests and those of the government of Japan, knowing that the information it disseminated was defective, incomplete and untrue, while omitting to disclose the extraordinary risks posed to the plaintiffs who were carrying out their assigned duties aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.” [Even an official Japanese inquiry found “collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco”]

It adds: “Defendant represented and warranted that the levels of contamination to which the plaintiffs would be exposed were less than harmful to them and that their presence during ‘Operation Tomadachi’ would not cause any different or greater harm to them than they may have experienced on missions in the past. …

“At all times relevant times, the defendant, TEPCO, was aware that exposure to even a low dose of radiation creates a danger to one’s health [that’s true] and that it is important to accurately report actual levels.


And, they say: “Defendants had actual and/or constructive knowledge of the properties of radiation that would ensure that, once released into the environment, radiation would spread further and in concentrations that would cause injury to the plaintiffs.”

The plaintiffs claim the government deliberately misled them: “the Japanese government kept representing that there was no danger of radiation contamination to the U.S.S. Reagan … and/or its crew, that ‘everything is under control,’ ‘all is OK, you can trust us,’ and there is ‘no immediate danger’ or threat to human life, all the while lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdowns at FNPP. [While the Japanese government hid radiation from its own people, it purportedly did share it with the U.S. military.]

“Such reports were widely circulated with the defendant, TEPCO’s, organization at the time it was published, despite the fact that the defendant knew that higher levels of radiation existed within the area whereat the plaintiffs and their vessel would be and were operating.”


“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. [Yup.]


The sailors say they “face additional and irreparable harm to their life expectancy, which has been shortened and cannot be restored to its prior condition.”

Video has emerged of sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan after going through a radiation plume after heading to help out Japan after the earthquake.  The sailor who shot the video explains:

This is what we had to go through every time we came back off the flight deck. This was the only entry point from the flight deck.

Memorable quotes include (at :05 in):

“This is what happens when you’re exposed to massive amounts of radiation.”

And (at 2:10 in):

(Radiation detectors beeping loudly) “This is crazy… Oh shit can you hear it?”

And (at 2:45 in):

“This is kind of crazy. When in your life will you ever get to do this shit again besides a nuclear holocaust?”

“We’re dying and we’re taking videos of it.”

But surely the Japanese government and Tepco are on top of things now …

Not exactly:

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  • B York

    The U.S. Navy sent their personnel into the radiation area knowing the severity of the contamination and the danger involved. They are the ones who should be sued.

  • disqus_yaHJAlpqzG

    just watch what happens to the next nation that comes out for a Palestinian State.

  • phil

    The u.s. navy should have provided them with proper testing equipment to ensure the safety of their sailors but this does put the Japanese government finally on blast for lying

    • David McFarland

      They do. Take note that the USS Ronald Reagan has two nuclear reactors of it’s own.
      The flight deck on the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS George Washington (at that time stationed in Yokosuka Japan) were regularly surveyed by their Reactor Department’s Engineering Laboratory Technicians (I was and am currently stationed on the USS George Washington and was involved in our Radiation Surveys) and it was determined that those working on the flight deck was not a considerable risk. The radiacs involved are absurdly accurate and it wasn’t difficult to figure out it wasn’t a big deal.

      The Nukes were not and are not freaking out about this.

      These are airmen who have no idea what they’re talking about and realized they could get money by exploiting sensationalist media.
      Notice how it’s also only these six. Were this a real case, the US Navy would come out against TEPCO en masse, or at least the entirety of Air Department and the Squadrons.
      Those in the know – us Nuclear Trained sailors, would much rather see these fools Court Martialled.

      • Someone

        The number is up to 70-75 individuals. Haven’t seen anything about USS George Washington, thankfully (was in Rx Dept until late 2008, knew people on the ship during the Tsunami).

        • David McFarland

          That’s because us on the GW got less than those who fled back to the states by air. We got a mere 4mrem.
          Those on the Reagan – I’m asking a guy on know on her now.
          I’m still saying those numbers are bullcrap.

  • Rehmat

    In July 2012, Israeli daily, YNet reported recently that Tokyo has asked for Israeli help to rehabilitate the city of Fukushima, which was hit particularly hard by the disastrous earthquacke and tsunami over a year ago.

    Canadian daily The Globe And Mail reported on July 5, 2012 that a recent Japanese parliamentary panel has claimed that the nuclear accident at Fukushima was “man-made disaster” and not only due to tsunami.
    “It is clear that this accident was a man-made disaster. Governments, regulatory authorities and Tokyo Electric Power lacked a sense of responsibility to protect people’s lives and society,” the Diet’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission said on Thursday.

    In February 2010, Japan offered to enrich uranium for the Islamic Republic. Soon thereafter, an Israeli firm by the name Magna BSP, headed by Haim Siboni, secured a contract to run security at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Last year, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that Magna BSP was providing security for the neculear plant prior to the disaster. In 2010, the firm installed security system “which included cameras and a warning system, enabling the facilitiy’s security staff to monitor anyone attempting to trespass onto the site or damage the parameter fence. The security system was designed to guard the plant against any hostile elements seeking to seize radioactive material to use in a terrorist attack,” reported Ha’aretz.

  • Pk

    Yes ts terrible however I feel inclined to say that it seems these sailors are being greedy. The clean up in Japan is costing over one billion dollars.. The gov is trying to assist its people first. How can these greedy sailor on humanitarian mission expect that much?! Last I was lead to believe, military personnel who develop health conditions while on active duty are taken care of/compensated for them for the duration of their lives.

  • BuckJohnson

    This sure didn’t show on television.

  • David McFarland

    Notice how these sailors aren’t the Nuclear Operators, who might actually know a thing or two. Instead, it’s undereducated airmen hypochondriacs who don’t know the difference between radiation and contamination.