[ RadSafe ] Local servicemen may have radiation poisoning from Fukushima
rwhelbig at gmail.com
Sun Feb 26 06:21:49 CST 2017
The ambulance chasing lawyers with dreams of millions in fees continue
to try their case in the media as well as the courts - too bad that
these sailors have become convinced that TEPCO caused their maladies
when that is probably only a fiction being perpetuated to fatten these
---------- Forwarded message ----------
dunrenard posted: " "In January, TEPCO urged the court to dismiss the
case, citing that it is a political matter that could impact
international relations." With a class action lawsuit pending,
hundreds of Navy sailors say they can’t get the help they need Navy
Local servicemen may have radiation poisoning from Fukushima
"In January, TEPCO urged the court to dismiss the case, citing that
it is a political matter that could impact international relations."
With a class action lawsuit pending, hundreds of Navy sailors say they
can’t get the help they need
Navy servicemember seeks treatment for alleged radiation poisoning
following Operation Tomodachi.
"Right now, I know I have problems, but I’m afraid of actually finding
out how bad they really are,” said William Zeller, a 33-year-old
active-duty Navy servicemember living in San Diego. He’s one of the
4,500 sailors who were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during Operation
Tomodachi, a humanitarian aid mission sent to Japan the day after a
tsunami triggered the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown.
“I know there’s something wrong,” Zeller said. “I’ve got many other
people around me telling me I don’t look good, and I need to get
checked out. While I am a workaholic, it’s a distraction.”
Zeller is only one of 318 sailors (and counting) who have joined a
billion-dollar class action lawsuit filed in 2012 against the nuclear
generators’ operating company, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO,
for injuries allegedly caused by radiation exposure.
The lawsuit argues TEPCO is financially responsible for the sailors’
medical care because the operating company, admittedly, did not inform
the Japanese government of the meltdown. In turn, the Japanese
government unknowingly misinformed the U.S. Navy of potential dangers
of anchoring off the coast of Japan where the ship was engulfed in a
plume of radiation for several hours.
“Everywhere we went we had to carry [gas masks] on our hips,” Zeller
said. “We were turning on news networks, and we could see how we were
right in the plume. You could taste the metallic air.”
In the six years since Fukushima, Zeller has only sought medical
attention from the Navy since the care is financially covered.
“The military health system is a process, putting it politely,” he
said, explaining how it took four years to learn he had abnormal bone
growth, nerve damage and what he believes is irritable bowel syndrome,
all of which began a year after Operation Tomodachi. His weight
fluctuates 20 to 30 pounds within a month, and he’s unendingly
“Before I went [on the USS Ronald Reagan], I used to be a martial arts
instructor,” he said. “I used to go on regular bike rides. I hiked. I
was in very good shape. Now, I wear a breathing machine when I go to
sleep because I have respiratory problems. I literally just go to work
and go home now. I don’t have the energy or the pain threshold to deal
with anything else.”
Considering the Veterans Association’s inability to treat members in a
timely or efficient manner, Zeller’s lawyer, Paul Garner, said VA care
is not an option. Instead, they’re hopeful that a fund set up by
former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will come to
Koizumi announced the creation of the fund while visiting 10 affected
sailors, including Zeller, in San Diego in May. Koizumi said he
expects to raise $2 million by a March 31 cutoff date. The plan is to
then transfer the money to the U.S. to supplement the sailor’s medical
bills at, according to Garner, some of the best care centers across
USS Ronald Reagan
However, Garner knows $2 million won’t be enough to cover every need,
especially since some sailors have reported symptoms appearing in
their children who were born after Operation Tomodachi.
“I have no idea if it’s caused by the radiation that I was exposed to
on the Reagan, but I don’t know that it’s not,” said Jason F., who was
also on board the USS Ronald Reagan but didn’t want to share his last
name while he’s still active duty. His breathing is audible over the
phone, as if climbing several sets of stairs, but he’s tucking his
three-year-old daughter into bed at their San Diego home.
“That’s standard breathing for me,” he said. “I don’t know what to do
about it. She has difficulty breathing too,” he said of his daughter,
who was born in 2013. “She snores like a grown man.”
Jason is 36 years old, in shape, never smoked a day in his life and
didn’t have trouble breathing until after his time on the USS Ronald
Reagan. His respiratory difficulties have aggrandized since 2011,
peaking during a 2016 deployment where the doctors told him the
contrasting temperatures were to blame and gave him an inhaler to puff
on. It took a formal request to fly him off the ship to receive
medical treatment in Bahrain, where he was told he had a 60 percent
chance of tuberculosis and a 40 percent chance of lung cancer. He has
since been diagnosed with asthma by an outside specialist, although
the treatments aren’t working.
“It’s difficult for them to figure out,” Jason said. “I mean, how many
patients have they had that are exposed to radiation? And are they
trained for that?”
When Zeller mentioned radiation exposure to doctors at the Navy, he
said he was told it was interesting, if acknowledged at all.
Lung cancer is one of several cancers associated with high radiation
exposure, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website,
as well as leukemia, which several sailors have been diagnosed with.
Bloody noses, rectal and gynecological bleeding, weakness and ulcers,
are also symptoms reported by the sailors and are signs of radiation
poisoning, according to the Scripps Health website.
In 2014, the Department of Defense published a report acknowledging
that radiation exposure can cause such medical issues, but that the
exposure levels were too low and the symptoms appeared too soon to
make a connection.
While Zeller and Jason hope for financial support either from
Koizumi’s fund or by winning the lawsuit, they want support for the
“I’m experiencing symptoms, but it’s not just for me,” Zeller said.
“It’s for the individuals who are way worse than me and to bring
attention to them… They have tumors, cancers, birth defects in their
children, some individuals have mass muscle fatigue where their entire
half of their body isn’t functional anymore, and they are stuck in
wheelchairs. I am currently on the better end.”
The sailors are waiting for a decision from the 9th Circuit Court of
Appeals determining whether the lawsuit will continue in the United
States or in Japan, if at all.
In January, TEPCO urged the court to dismiss the case, citing that it
is a political matter that could impact international relations.
Jason said the lawsuit is about more than money, specifically when it
comes to his daughter’s future.
“I just want accountability,” he said. “I want her taken care of.
Whatever that takes.”
dunrenard | February 26, 2017 at 10:18 am | Tags: Operation Tomodachi,
Sailors Fukushima Suit, USS Reagan | Categories: Fukushima 2017 | URL:
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