Plenty Of Work For The Unemployed

Throw-away heroes work for TEPCO

According to a reporter for The Economist, the workers at Fukushima often "keel over" while cleaning up the radioactive rubble around the damaged plant. Sometimes they are taken away by ambulance, but eventually they are returned to work.


Workers being monitored following exposure to radiation at Fukushima.

The task is virtually suicidal. Workers are being conscripted from the ranks of the unemployed, poor and even homeless. Those on the site often remark that the workers appear to be the "least of humanity" with missing teeth and visible signs of depravation.

Interviews with the workers are difficult because part of their training (if one can call it that) specifically prohibits talking to the media. The air of secrecy is obvious when you try to approach a worker. Many are not salaried Tepco staff but low-paid contract workers lodged in Iwaki, just south of the exclusion zone. It's just sad all around.

"It is easy to spot them, in their nylon tracksuits -- they seem to have been recruited from the poorest corners of society"

Those that did speak to reporters told of just 30 minutes of safety training -- consisting of a video. Further questioning revealed that they did not fully understand the lethal dangers of their work.


UPDATE 2011/2012:

According to a book recently published by Tomohiko Suzuki, a freelance journalist who went undercover as a laborer at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant for two months this year, people who were unable to repay loans from yakuza gangs were forced to work at the site as a means of repaying their debts. Tokyo Electric issued a refutal, calling the claim that organized crime would be allowed to influence the recruitment process "groundless".

With the assistance of a particular organization, Suzuki was able to get employment at Fukushima Daiichi during July and August of this year, until his identity was discovered. In the book detailing that time, he writes,

"The yakuza has a huge influence on the running of the nuclear power plant. About one in ten laborers is aligned with the criminal organizations in some way."

In their published denial, Tokyo Electric's PR department stated, "Our company denies any influence from these antisocial organizations, and it is clear that staffing agencies used to recruit laborers have complied with all laws and acted appropriately."



lafsnack lafsnack
51-55, M
May 8, 2012