6 Juillet 2016
July 6, 2016
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is calling for donations to the relief fund he founded for U.S. veterans who claim their health problems resulted from radioactive fallout after the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Speaking at a news conference on July 5 alongside another former prime minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, Koizumi said of the U.S. veterans: “They went so far to do their utmost to help Japan. It is not the kind of issue we can dismiss with just sympathy.”
More than 400 veterans who were part of the Operation Tomodachi mission to provide humanitarian relief after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami have 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.
However, in a 2014 report released by the U.S. Defense Department, no link was established between radiation exposure and their ill health. The reason cited was that only a low level of radiation exposure occurred.
Koizumi, 74, visited some of the plaintiffs in the United States in mid-May. Although Koizumi was a supporter of nuclear power when he was prime minister between 2001 and 2006, he became an outspoken opponent after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.