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Workers at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been turned down by landlords when they tried to rent apartments, some have had plastic bottles thrown at them, others have had paper

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I think there is no end to vile, unenlightened behavior based on irrational prejudices and ignorance. But it's part of a long tradition to discriminate against various groups of people in Japan.

How reprehensible that these workers have become the Dowa people of the 21st century. But for these workers, the same people who are throwing bottles might well have (and still could) become shadows on a sidewalk. Unfortunately, they fail to realize it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let's unravel this tangled narrative.

Local people are justifiably angry with TEPCO for failing to improve safety at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, despite recommendations to improve safety several times.

TEPCO executives are NOT about to visit Fukuishima (they're be lynched!), so the local people are blaming all TEPCO workers.

TEPCO's clean-up efforts have been farsical, with them just sweeping up radioactive material and leaving it in bags around the place and dumping radioactive water into the rivers, so the local resentment of TEPCO employees is just increasing.

This is NOT necessarily about the fact that these workers have been exposed to radiation at all, but rather, more probably, about Fukushima residents being angry with TEPCO.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can empathize. I've been turned down by Japanese landlords a few times, sight unseen, simply because of where I came from.

The reaction isn't surprising. Hiroshima and Nagasaki residents were commonly shunned by landlords and potential marriage partners in the not-too-distant past.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This is NOT necessarily about the fact that these workers have been exposed to radiation at all, but rather, more probably, about Fukushima residents being angry with TEPCO.

Okay. So do the intelligent thing, then. Go after effin TEPCO not the desperate workers it's paying squat to do the dirty work. Are people incapable of connecting those 1-2-3 dots?

That. Is. No. Valid. Excuse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Frungy up there makes some good comments.

This isn't about discrimination, this is about vocalization. The real victims from Fukushima have lost their homes and their livelihoods, have been shunned from repartition and are having a hell of a hard time trying to relocate, all while TEPCO raises electricity prices and gives their employees raises. The company has lied repeatedly, not only to the public, but to their own employees as well. It's no wonder the Fukushima people are angry. While it would be nice to throw tomatoes at the CEO, he's not the one knocking on the door every day asking for inflated electricity payments. Those workers are the representatives of a company which has - and continues to - unabashedly destroyed lives surrounding this incident, and if they don't like being associated with it, they should quit or pass on the word to their superiors. Not that the superiors are likely to do anything about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wouldn't mind seeing some major fines levied on these descriminators...say ¥500,000 or more!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

philly1Jan. 09, 2013 - 11:24AM JST Okay. So do the intelligent thing, then. Go after effin TEPCO not the desperate workers it's paying squat to do the dirty work. Are people incapable of connecting those 1-2-3 dots? That. Is. No. Valid. Excuse.

Actually it is perfectly valid if you think like someone who's Japanese rather than thinking like a foreigner. In Japan you introduce yourself as, "XYZ company's Billy-bob". Your identity is linked to your employer's. To the Japanese residents of Fukushima these employees ARE TEPCO.

And don't accuse people of being unintelligent simply because they have a different cultural outlook. What is a company after all, but the sum of all of its employees? Or do you imagine that companies are like souls, floating somewhere outside of the physical manifestations of the company (employees, buildings, infrastructure)? Now that's illogical.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It makes me get mad at the media that blew the Fukushima accident way out of proportion, and was incapable of communicating the real implications (more interested in sensationalist news). It makes me mad because blowhard environmentalist deliberately spread lies about the effects of radiation that have zero scientific basis, and they get a huge audience because their nonsense sounds 'sexy' to the media.

You miss the nail's head completely. Shunning people who have been affected by trouble has a long standing tradition in Japan.The victims of the nuclear bombs or those from various kinds of industrial accidents - mercury poisoning, dust-filled lung afflictions with coal miners and other issues - the victims seem to have always been shunned. KUSAI MONO NI FUTA WO SURU is the source of the problem. People try to avoid the hibakusha because they would have to admit that the consequences of the accident reach into their normal lives. People do not want to face the fundamental flaws of their way of life or of their culture - like the corruption of the nuclear industry, which makes the cleanup and decommisioning even more difficult than it would be just by itself.

People get hurt 1000 times more because of the media, radical environmentalists and lack of education than from the residual radionuclides from the Fukushima accident. But mental scars can't be detected with a radiation monitor, while the detector is able to detect one single radioactive atom among billions of stable ones - and cause panic even if there is absolutely no reason for that.

I don't know where you get this, but as a physicist I'd prefer not having people spread such nonsense. One single radioactive nucleus isn't detected easily. You need significant contaminations for most measurement techniques, especially those which have become common in contemporary Japan like Geiger counters. 4pi Germanium detectors or the like are an exception of course. And if you are contaminated with alpha emitters, then even surface contamination detectors (those which are normally used in environments where contamination is expected) will not be triggered if you have plutonium or uranium stuck to your clothes or skin. And the closer environment of the stricken plant has plenty of alpha emitters lying around which do not register on the radiation maps which are only looking for gamma and beta sources. Therefore there is a non-negligible risk of carrying around undetected contaminants if safety protocols are not applied properly. And I have strong doubts that they are applied thoroughly in the corrupt business at work in and around Fukushima Daiichi.

The problem is not that people are afraid of radiation. The problem is that society shuns away from the problem as it is. The problem for people does not originate in the workers, it originates in the corrupt culture that is the semi-criminal nuclear industry. People should demand the heads of those who are responsible for avoidable worker exposure. But they should support the workers at the plant since they put their lives in danger every day for meager wages. Even though not everything they do is extremely dangerous and even though the majority of them will probably never have any severe and detrimental effects to their health due to their work at the stricken plant - if you're a worker with little to no knowledge about the scientific details and the local radiation distribution and your boss is an idiot or an a$$hole and sends you to the wrong corner of the facility - then you can face lasting damage without any hope of salvation.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hmm, touchy subject. Discrimination. There really should be laws enforced against it, after all it is 2013 already. Anyway, before I light the touchpaper of "discrimination in Japan is rife", important to note that it isn't just here that you see such discrimination. Whatever people are afraid of, they try to expel as opposed to understand and live with it. For some people radiation is too difficult to understand and cold war brainwashing has left society scarred with an unrealistic fear of all things nuclear.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@cos

I would turn down such tenants too, politely, but I would.

Why? Forget for a second why you think Tepco have the responsibility, and assume they aren't an employee anymore - why would you turn them away?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why?

Because they are Tepco's employees, and they want to rent flats in order to work for Tepco, and Tepco is their guarantor. It's Tepco's job (among others) to provide them housing.

Forget for a second why you think Tepco have the responsibility, and assume they aren't an employee anymore - why would you turn them away?

If they are not employee anymore, I have no reason to turn them away. But they are. That's the point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Johannes Weber Jan. 09, 2013 - 07:00PM JST

And the closer environment of the stricken plant has plenty of alpha emitters lying around which do not register on the radiation maps which are only looking for gamma and beta sources. Therefore there is a non-negligible risk of carrying around undetected contaminants if safety protocols are not applied properly.

Wasn't a survey done of alpha emitters around Fukushima?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cos

If they are not employee anymore, I have no reason to turn them away. But they are. That's the point.

OK, so are coal workers OK? Coal has caused more death than nuclear AND are continuing to pollute the earth. How about Japan Tobacco? Are their employees OK? Their products kill thousands each year. What is your treshhold for the discrimination?

It's against the Tepco employees, not against the private persons You do realise that outside the office they are actually private people?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually it is perfectly valid if you think like someone who's Japanese rather than thinking like a foreigner.

Nothing about workplace abuse is perfectly valid if you think.

Nor is discrimination of any kind. Not to anyone anywhere for any reason.Though it occurs not only in Japan, but is systemic world-wide also. This is fact, but this is also morally wrong. However, in Japan workplace abuse has the artful refinement of no one being able to acknowledge the problem.

And as Cos points out, which workers in which industries should be abused more than others? Why should some get a free ride for doing greater harm? Why single out TEPCO workers because of ignorance and fear?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's sad for this workers, but part of their job. People's reaction is relatively normal. I would turn down such tenants too, politely, but I would. Tepco should provide housing to its workers and arrange with owners. Like it should pay what it owes to the evacuated families, so these people could rent flats too, instead of living in gyms.

these workers have become the Dowa people of the 21st century.

It's against the Tepco employees, not against the private persons.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It makes me get mad at the media that blew the Fukushima accident way out of proportion, and was incapable of communicating the real implications (more interested in sensationalist news). It makes me mad because blowhard environmentalist deliberately spread lies about the effects of radiation that have zero scientific basis, and they get a huge audience because their nonsense sounds 'sexy' to the media. It makes me mad because the education system is obviously unable to teach people to use common sense and fact-checking, and unable to teach the most elementary principles of physics. The effects in real life on real people can be seen from news reports such as this one. People get hurt 1000 times more because of the media, radical environmentalists and lack of education than from the residual radionuclides from the Fukushima accident. But mental scars can't be detected with a radiation monitor, while the detector is able to detect one single radioactive atom among billions of stable ones - and cause panic even if there is absolutely no reason for that.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

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