— USS Ronald Reagan update — Former prime minister flies to California to support sick US veterans, breaks down in tears at press conference

From Asahi Shimbun

Tearful Koizumi backs U.S. vets suing over 2011 nuclear disaster

May 19, 2016

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi breaks down in tears at a May 17 news conference in Carlsbad, California, after talking about what U.S. veterans who took part in Operation Tomodachi have endured. (Ari Hirayama)

CARLSBAD, California–Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi broke down in tears as he made an emotional plea of support for U.S. Navy sailors beset by health problems they claim resulted from radioactive fallout after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

More than 400 veterans who were part of a mission called Operation Tomodachi to provide humanitarian relief after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami filed a mass lawsuit in California against Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. They are seeking compensation and an explanation for their health problems.

Koizumi, 74, responded to a request from a group supporting the plaintiffs and flew to the United States to meet with 10 veterans.

At a news conference here on May 17, Koizumi said: “U.S. military personnel who did their utmost in providing relief are now suffering from serious illnesses. We cannot ignore the situation.”

Apparently overcome with emotion, Koizumi started crying, but went on and said, “Proponents and opponents of nuclear energy must think together about what can be done.”

Koizumi, in power between 2001 and 2006, became a vocal opponent of nuclear energy after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant caused by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

During the news conference, Koizumi also touched upon the significance of the scheduled visit to Hiroshima by U.S. President Barack Obama next week.

“It will be important to see how that is tied into a reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons,” Koizumi said. “We should all work toward zero nuclear plants and develop other energy sources.”

Most of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were crew members of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which anchored off the Tohoku coast to provide relief along the battered coastline.

Theodore Holcomb, an aviation mechanic on the flattop, was tasked with washing down U.S. helicopters that had operated in areas with high radiation. He was later diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He died in 2014 at age 35.

The Department of Veterans Affairs later cut off a study into the causal relationship between his exposure to radiation and his illness.

His best friend in the Navy, Manuel Leslie, 41, now is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit on behalf of Holcomb.

Leslie said he just wants the truth to come out for his friend.

Another crew member, Ron Wright, 26, worked on the deck. After finishing his shift one day, he was forced to remove his clothes after a high radiation reading. Subsequently, he developed a swelling of the testicles and underwent surgery four times after he returned to the United States. However, the pain was so intense that he had to rely on painkillers and sleeping pills.

A military doctor told him there was no relationship between his illness and exposure to radiation.

Wright said he was never given protective clothing or iodine during the mission. He also said he had no knowledge of radiation at the time.

According to the ship’s logs and the testimony of former crew members, sailors aboard the Ronald Reagan may well have been exposed to radiation as the carrier passed under a radiation plume that was generated by the Fukushima accident. In addition, the carrier used desalinated seawater for drinking and showers by crew members.

However, in a 2014 report released by the U.S. Defense Department, no link was established between radiation exposure and health problems. The reason cited was that only a low level of radiation exposure occurred.

Many of the plaintiffs have not been compensated for their medical expenses.

Paul Garner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said, “I hope the Japanese people will realize there are American ‘tomodachi’ who have been forgotten.”

A spokesperson for Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. said, “We are dealing with the matter through the normal channels.”

(This article was written by Masato Tainaka and Ari Hirayama.)

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201605190065.html

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U.S. govt cover-up: USS Ronald Reagan sailors suffering from radiation sicknes

Excerpts transcribed and posted at ENE News (www.enenews.c0m) — 7-16-14

Interview with Navy Lt. Steve Simmons who served on the USS Ronald Reagan for 3/11 relief mission, Nuclear Hotseat hosted by Libbe HaLevy, July 8, 2014 (emphasis added):

  • 21:30 in — November 2011 I noticed something was wrong… The black-out was the first thing… I started dealing with gastrointestinal issues, at first I thought I was coming down with a stomach bug… Fevers as high as 102.9°F… January 2012 was the first time I was hospitalized… [They] sent me home with a sinus infection. Three days later I was readmitted to the hospital because my lymph nodes were swelling… that’s when my legs buckled and the muscle weakness started to onset… it’s been ascending from legs, trunk, arms, hands… I can’t really use the muscles much at all. I’m down to about 20 lbs. of grip strength in my hands, which is barely functional… I do have to catheterize every 4 hours in order to empty the bladder. The migraines still get worse. The fevers still come and go, and they keep calling it a fever of unknown origin. My vitamin D is in the gutter, they just keep calling it an unspecified vitamin D deficiency… 2nd degree burns on my legs just from being out in the sun for 3 or 4 hours… that had never been a concern. Nobody can figure it out. I’ve been getting these rashes that come and go; they’ll go up my arms, my neck, around my eyes, back, stomach, legs. I deal with tremors and spasms… I am [in a wheelchair]… There’s days I don’t even get out of bed… for a long time I thought I was the only one. I had no idea there were other individuals that were even sick or dealing with ailments… Doctors wouldn’t tell us anything… I’ve had doctors tell me maybe you’re better off not knowing what you’re dealing with… You can’t have over 100 or 200 people sick, and one who has died last April, and say there is absolutely no health risk.
  • 35:00 in — Finding out that there’s more people that are sick, finding out there were some other individuals at Walter Reed [Hospital]… almost identical symptoms to what I was dealing with… they we’re told to be quiet, and next thing I know they’re, who knows where they’re at, nobody’s heard from them, nobody has seen them. I have a buddy at Walter Reed right now, whose going through the same exact thing, very similar to what I’m dealing with — maybe 6 months to a year behind on the symptoms… His wife would call my wife and my wife would explain what he could expect next and sure as anything that happens next… Him and I both had doctors who have actively tried to convince us that there’s physically nothing wrong and it’s all psychological… This is ridiculous… He’s also in a wheelchair and when he went to the clinic to get fitted for a wheelchair, this doctor told him that it’s all in his head, and he doesn’t need a wheelchair… This is uncalled for.
  • 46:00 in — We now realize how bad it was… the worst disaster in history, then it’s time to acknowledge the fact that, yeah there is a problem, and there are going to be some effects on human life… If the worst case happens, and some more folks pass — I would have to be naive to think that nobody else is going to pass away from this — it’s only a matter of time before there’s more lives lost. I would be lying if I don’t think every day that I’m going to be next because of how bad my health keeps going downhill.

Full interview available here
http://www.nuclearhotseat.com/2008/

Post from
http://enenews.com/emotional-interview-navy-sailor-suffering-serious-illness-after-fukushima-exposure-others-same-symptoms-told-be-quiet-nobodys-heard-worry-about-dying-health-keeps-worsening-really-legs-arms-h

 

LINKS:

  • EPA wants to raise radiation limits by a factor of 350!  Tell EPA head Gina McCarthy (who was responsible for the EPA’s RadNet monitors  not working in the immediate aftermath of Fukushima) what they can do with the proposed new standards; public input requested:http://www.epa.gov/radiation/laws/190/#publicinput