Suing for Nuclear Justice – Facing “the global nature of the harm”

Back in December of 2013 we posted a video report on sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier suing TEPCO, the Fukushima Dai-ichi operator for covering up the meltdowns and thereby exposing young US service people aboard the USS Reagan to horrendous amounts of radioactivity as they were providing humanitarian aide to Japanese victims of the tsunami and earthquake. They were aboard the USS Reagan aircraft carrier miles offshore directly in the blowing airborne plume of high radioactivity while drinking and bathing in highly radioactive water.

US Navy Sailors swab the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan off the coast of Japan in March, 2011

In the video, plaintiffs Lindsay Cooper and Mathew Bradley, together with their attorneys Charles Bonner, Paul Garner and Cabral Bonner reported their experiences and laid out their case. At that time the future of their case seemed in doubt. But, despite delays, the $1 Billion class action lawsuit against TEPCO is now moving forward.

According to a recent news report, in June, 2015 Judge Janis Sammartino finally accepted arguments for the suit to proceed in the United States. Having initially rejected the suit in October, 2014, Sammartino dismissed TEPCO arguments that the case should move to Japan for jurisdictional reasons. She ruled: “Both the U.S. and Japan have an interest in having this suit heard within their forum. Tepco has pointed to several reasons supporting dismissal of the present claims, and the court concedes that some of Tepco’s arguments are persuasive. However, the reasons for maintaining jurisdiction of this case are more compelling, namely the parties’ strong connection with this forum.”

Sammartino reasoned that, “In light of the parties’ connections to the U.S. and the global nature of the harm,” the case should proceed in the United States (emphasis added). On June 25th, Tsuyoshi Takahashiin, the Executive Officer in charge of TEPCO’s Safety and Quality of Nuclear Power & Plant Siting Division, resigned. According to the report,

The accusations have expanded to include American companies, like General Electric, that were complicit in the design of the facility. Negligence in nuclear power facilities has endangered the entire planet. TEPCO, finally, seems to have begun to accept their responsibility. The quiet resignation of one Executive Officer in the middle of a major lawsuit in a foreign jurisdiction may indicate that some accountability is being taken.

In the meantime, 250 named sailors, and up to 70,000 other Americans may have been placed in direct harm from the inaction and negligence of TEPCO. Krill, anchovies, starfish, jellyfish, birds and other creatures that depend on the Pacific Ocean ecosystem for survival are also, coincidentally, showing evidence of expected results from excessive radiation. On the bright side, TEPCO’s profits continue to impress investors. The fallout from this lawsuit may not just cost one TEPCO executive his job. Bonner’s lawsuit may be a cancer for the international economy, and a cancer for the Trans-Pacific Partnership also, as inhabitants of several nations are affected by the negligence of one company in one nation. source

Attorney Charles Bonner will be giving an update on the case in Petaluma, CA this Friday at an event co-sponsored by EON along with Project Censored, the Fukushima Response Campaign, and the Sonoma Peace & Justice Center. Joining him in “Taking Nuclear to Court in Japan & Korea” will be guest speakers from Japan and Korea Lee Jin Seop, Choi Seungkoo and Rev. Deasoo Lee, who will report on a landmark nuclear suit in Korea.

In October of 2014, a South Korean court ruled in favor of a claim by Park Geum-sun, that her thyroid cancer was caused by radiation from six nuclear power plants located 7.7 kilometers from her home. In their determination that radiation from an operating nuclear power plant is directly related to increased incidence of thyroid cancer in nearby communities, these judges have set a critical legal precedent. Husband of the successful plaintiff, Lee Jin Seop will talk about his wife’s case and other lawsuits that have been filed, also seeking to establish judicial accountability for the dangers of nuclear power, and compensation for the cancers it can cause.

Hwang Bun-hui, a plaintiff in nationwide lawsuits against the government-owned operator of nuclear power plants in South Korea, stands in front of the Wolseong nuclear power plant in Gyeongju. (Akira Nakano)

For instance, Choi Seungkoo is the Secretary General of No Nukes Asia Action (NNAA), a Japanese nonprofit organization that recently filed the Reactor Suppliers Lawsuit to hold companies that profited from Fukushima’s nuclear operations responsible for the continuing nuclear disaster (GE, Hitachi, Toshiba). He has organized this delegation’s visit to the U.S. to inform us, and urge support for his international class action suit, because the ongoing radioactive contamination coming from the still unresolved Fukushima disaster affects not only those in Japan and Korea but all other nations bordering the Pacific Ocean as well.

Lee Jin Seop and Choi Seungkoo will be joined and introduced by Rev. Deasoo Lee who has lectured on the dangers of nuclear power at the Shinano-machi Church in Tokyo, which is where the Reactor Suppliers Lawsuit was launched at a press conference in November, 2012. As Mr. Seungkoo explains: “I belong to the protestant church and 30% of the key members of NNAA are Christians. We are a group of citizens wishing to live in a world free from nukes, both weapons and nuclear power. As for today, we have almost 4000 plaintiffs of the lawsuit from Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, the US, Canada, Malaysia, etc.”

“Taking Nuclear to Court in Japan & Korea” begins at 6:30pm, Friday July 17, 2015 at the Cross & Crown Luthern Church, 5475 Snyder Lane in Rohnert Park, California. This FREE event is sponsored by: FUKUSHIMA RESPONSE, – Project Censored, – Ecological Options Network, – Sonoma County Peace & Justice Center,

For more information & interviews contact: Chizu Hamada 510-495-5952
Link to more on the successful Korean Lawsuit –
Link to more on the class action Reactor Suppliers Lawsuit –
TEPCO Executive Resigns as Navy Lawsuit Steams Ahead by Alex Freeman • July 11, 2015
More residents joining lawsuits seeking damages from South Korean nuclear plants

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