US military member suing over Japan nuke disaster

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US service members are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. for more than US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion) on grounds the utility lied about the dangers of helping clean up the nuclear disaster that struck two years ago, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The case was first filed by nine plaintiffs in December but has now expanded to 26, and another 100 are in the process of joining the suit, said Stars and Strips newspaper.

The new complaint was filed on Tuesday in US District Court in California, a day after the two year anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that hit the eastern coast of Japan. It left nearly 15,881 people dead and 2,668 others still unaccounted for.

The plaintiffs include active duty and retired shore-based Marines, shore-based dependents and sailors from ships that operated in the disaster area.

The newspaper said peers of the plaintiffs complain the latter are seeking an easy payoff and that the Pentagon insists the radiation they were exposed to did not pose a major health risk.

The plaintiffs says the have suffered a number of ailments that they say are linked to their exposure, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, rectal bleeding, thyroid problems, cancer, tumors and gynecological bleeding.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.