9 Mai 2016
May 9, 2016
Former Japanese fishermen and their family members have filed a lawsuit against the government of Japan.
The men were on fishing boats near the site of a US hydrogen bomb test more than 60 years ago and say they may have been exposed to radiation.
The United States conducted the test on Bikini Atoll in 1954. 23 crewmembers from Fukuryu Maru No.5 were found to have been exposed to fallout from the test. One of them died 6 months later.
Supporters of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit say about 1,000 Japanese fishing boats were operating in nearby waters at the time.
45 plaintiffs filed the suit on Monday at the Kochi district court.
They are demanding the Japanese government pay about 18,000 dollars in compensation for each former crewmember. They say the government failed to monitor their radiation levels even after it learned about the case of the Fukuryu Maru No.5.
83-year-old Yutaka Kuwano is one of the plaintiffs. He was 21 years old at the time of the test, and was fishing for tuna near the atoll.
He was diagnosed with stomach cancer 12 years ago after developing symptoms such as nose bleeds and an abnormally high number of white blood cells.
The health ministry released records on the incident two years ago. They show crews on several boats other than Fukuryu Maru No.5 had higher than usual levels of radiation.