Japanese boss sends teenager to radioactive Fukushima

This video says about itself:

Atomic mafia: Yakuza cleaning up Fukushima

4 December 2013

Homeless men employed to clean up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.”

An investigative journalist who went undercover at Fukushima, filming with a camera hidden in his watch, says that many of the workers were brought into the nuclear plant by Japan’s organized crime syndicate. Because the Japanese government has been reluctant to invite multinational workers into the country, its nuclear industry mostly uses cheap domestic labor.

These so-called “nuclear gypsies” are homeless men from the Sanya neighborhood of Tokyo and Kamagasaki. “Working conditions in the nuclear industry have always been bad,” the deputy director of Osaka’s Hannan Chuo Hospital, Saburo Murata, told Reuters. “Problems with money, outsourced recruitment, lack of proper health insurance — these have existed for decades.” The problem is that after Japan’s parliament approved a bill to fund decontamination work in August 2011, the law did not apply existing rules regulating the profitable construction industry.

Therefore, contractors engaged in decontamination, were not required to share information on their management, so anyone could instantly become a nuclear contractor.

From the Japan Times:

Construction firm exec arrested for sending teen to help Fukushima cleanup

Kyodo, Reuters

Aichi Prefectural Police arrested a construction firm executive on Wednesday for sending a 15-year-old boy to help clean up radioactive waste outside the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

The police said the boy, who is from Kitanagoya, Aichi Prefecture, was sent to Fukushima to cut contaminated leaves and scrape up dirt in the disaster zone last July.

Japan’s labor law prohibits people under 18 from working in radioactive areas.

Police arrested Yuji Chiba, 49, who is in charge of the company’s labor management and is responsible for the cleanup operations.

The boy started to work at the company in April after graduating from junior high school. He began to clean up the radioactive waste in July, but escaped from the job after working for about five days. He was ordered to lie about his age.

The boy said his former employer had lowered his wages to just ¥3,000 a day and hit him when he did not work hard enough.

Workers cleaning up villages in Fukushima are supposed to receive a special hazard allowance equivalent to about ¥9,000 a day from the government, in addition to their wages.

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami badly damaged the Fukushima No. 1 plant, sparked a triple nuclear meltdown, forced more than 160,000 residents to flee nearby towns and contaminated water, food and air.

Thousands of workers have been clearing radioactive waste from towns closest to the plant over the past four years.

Japan’s traditional subcontracting structure in the construction industry opened up lucrative cleanup contracts in Fukushima to multiple layers of smaller companies that regularly skim workers’ pay.

This video says about itself:

22 February 2015

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of radioactive substances in a drainage channel on the plant’s premises on Sunday. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is investigating the cause.

TEPCO says the plant’s alarm system went off around 10 AM. It showed a rise in radioactivity in the channel that leads to a nearby port.

Measurements showed that levels of beta-ray emitting substances, which are not detected under normal circumstances, had risen to up to 7,230 Becquerels per liter.

The figure is 10 times higher than when rain causes the level to rise temporarily.

The utility suspects that contaminated water in the channel may have leaked into the port.

It has suspended all operations to transfer contaminated water and closed a gate of the channel by the port.

The drainage channel used to be connected to a section of coast beyond the port. TEPCO rerouted it after a series of leaks in 2013.

See also here.

Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday after it emerged that water containing cesium and other radioactive isotopes has been draining into the Pacific near the Fukushima No. 1 plant and that Tepco did nothing to prevent it despite learning of the leak last May: here.

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