Friday, December 28, 2012

Sailor Suit


Eight American sailors have filed a lawsuit in US federal court against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the crippled nuclear power plant in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture. The plaintiffs were among thousands of US servicemen and women sent to lend Japan a helping hand in the wake of the devastating March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The eight claim the public utility as well as its current owner, the Japanese government, "misrepresented radiation levels" and wittingly led them into harm's way. 

Some call the suit frivolous, but if TEPCO or its owner did in fact withhold vital safety information, I would think that would be enough to put the sailors on solid legal ground. If brought to court the case could also prove or disprove the swarm of circulating conspiracy theories 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 from public view. A win for TEPCO might also result in putting a damper on any further similar litigation.

Although the health risks posed by the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe may be a subject of debate, the financial impact is indisputable and growing. One thing for sure is that any monetary burden resulting from this lawsuit will fall mainly on the shoulders of those who call this archipelago home. Now while Japan may be an island, the global economy, of which it is an integral piece, is not. The economic strain the Fukushima nuclear disaster has put on Japan has in turn become a heavier weight on the world than anyone would like to bear. The truth is when it comes to navigating the problems of nuclear power, we are all in the same boat.

2 comments:

  1. I didn't know about this (haven't been following news lately). I'm glad for the information. Very interesting, thanks for posting.

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    1. I think I first saw this story reported a few days ago on SimplyInfo.org (I think the source was courthousenews.com). The next day I saw it pop up on some blogs and then the day after that the Japan Times had an article on it (but that's not a dig at the JT - I like that paper, they do a pretty decent job).

      The related article in the JT is here: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121228a3.html

      Stars and Stripes also covers it in detail here: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/earthquake-disaster-in-japan/us-sailors-sue-japanese-utility-over-radiation-exposure-1.202197

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