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Firm told workers at Fukushima plant to lie about radiation dose

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Just one more example that Tepco and the companies they hire, can (not) be trusted. The measurement's they give should always be questioned, I bet there still (baffled!)

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Surprise surprise!

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

This can only be prevented by TEPCO directing employing the nuclear gypsies and day laborers or insisting that contractors can't sub contract.

TEPCO measures the level of daily radiation exposure of it's own workers but not contract workers. All workers at the site should be passing through the same in and out inspections.

These workers are sent into areas with radiation up to 300 microsieverts/hr. Within 3 months they can reach the maximum level of 50 millisieverts/yr. In two terms, they would reach the maximum of 100 millisieverts/5 yrs, which means they can't work at any atomic plant for 5 years.

For many, this is their only source of work.

The nuclear gypsies and temp workers are living in hotels in Fukushima City, four or five to a room to save on costs. They board buses already wearing tyvek suits and face masks. At the end of their work shifts, I wonder what is happening to those suits. Are they given clean ones for the return journey to Fukushima City?

TEPCO is responsible for everything that is happening at their atomic plant and now must introduce a monitoring system to ensure these wokers are not being exposure to more radiation than what is allowed.

The daily pay for these workers is ¥5000 to ¥15,000 but the contractors and sub contractors are receiving substantially more than that, about ¥50,000 per day per worker.

Even nuclear gypsies and day laborers are suppose to receive some basic training on nuclear safety but many have reported they haven't received any.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-in/9084151/How-the-Yakuza-went-nuclear.html

Interesting story... don't know if it's true ... about the Ya-san connection with nuke plants as subcontractors. I've seen it reported in Japan as well, and I wonder if it's true or if it's just a story? Historically, the Japanese mob have done a lot for people during emergencies, but there is a price to be paid as well, it seems.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is just insane... how desperate are these guys to sign their own death like this? Just how many crazy reports do we have to face until this whole mess will be under control? This is so rotten to the core

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Ah, Japan! The lies and deceit just don't stop coming, do they? Is there anything in this country that is legit?

9 ( +17 / -8 )

I'm not surprised. But once a magnitude 6 earthquake cracks open that precariously suspended and damaged cooling pond in reactor #4, it'll all be academic anyway.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I wonder if the management is still "baffled at criticism of TEPCO" (as reported on this site a few days ago), or are they beginning to get an inkling of why some of us are less than completely satisfied by their conduct?

How much criminality is allowed before somebody - other than Kan, who committed the unforgivable crime of demanding TEPCO not run away from their mess - is held responsible and punished?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

As a "democracy", why does a 1st-world Japan allow this of kind of thing to happen?!!! Don't you have high standards?!!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I am as mad as hell about this. I want my kids to feel pride in being Japanese, but this news is just so pathetic.

Guys working at Fukushima are doing the hardest, most important work in Japan and they're getting firstly ripped off in wages, and then made to lie. It's just totally outrageous.

Isn't it obvious to anyone by now that Tepco can not be trusted with this? (Yes, I know it was a subcontractor, but it's Tepcos's responsibility ultimately).

Isn't there ONE politician from one of the parties who is going to step up for these guys?

The govt needs to step in, make sure every worker has great wages, the best safety checks, the best medical checks, and is able to sleep in great accommodation after work? For all the money that is still being spent on getting the next Olympics and spent on waste, can't they spend money on the people who are working there? I don't want to work there, don't want to send my kids to work there, but thats one thing most people would surely be okay with their tax dollars being spent.

Japanese can sneer and get angry about Chinese business and Mickey Mouse in North Korea, but this is absolutely pathetic and makes Japan look like a third world country.

Come on Japan, surely you can do better than this. Isn't anyone embarrassed about this?

Also, what kind of scum gives so little money to their workers out of what they get, and then on top of that blatantly puts their lives in danger.

Unfortunately, while this makes me mad, it doesn't surprise me after all my years here. But to the Japanese I say this. You love talking about how corrupt and dishonest Chinese are, but Japanese business is worse - they just do it all under the radar. If I were religious, I'd be thinking that it's payback time or bad karma or something. Japan needs a revolution in simple morals.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Shocking to know any responsible corporate management would consider doing this. This is essentially attempted murder and sincerely hope this is a very rare case and not one of many other similar acts conducted elsewhere.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Without faking the exposure level, the executive told the workers they would quickly reach the legally permissible annual exposure limit of 50 millisieverts, according to the Asahi."

Ummm... they would still very quickly reach the legally permissible annual exposure limit -- they just wouldn't have to report the fact. Typical of a subcontractor, but ultimately TEPCO is responsible as they hired them.

The question is, what's going to be done about it -- aside from a bunch of people getting sick years down the road?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The President of Tepco is ultimately responsible for everything that happens on that site, regardless or whether it's at the subcontractor or sub-subcontractor level.

You can tell what a person is really like and really made of during a crisis. Japan isn't looking that good is it? I suspect there's no outrage because most Japanese know that people can't be trusted. And they know how bad hakken gaisha are.

But anyway, tonight instead of outrage TV will be full of people hitting other over the head, laughing about uwaki, saying how delicious food is, and no doubt saying "arienai" about how strange people are in other countries.

They may as well replace all the music on the train stations with the theme song from the Twilight Zone.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Baffling!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hands up those who are in the slightest bit surprised by this "revelation"? (apart from Naomi "I'm baffled" Hirose)

makes Japan look like a third world country.

Japan is a third world country, albeit a rich one.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Nothing will be done or it would have already. At best, there will be a bit of noise around the issue and then back to business as usual. The authorities and TEPCO must turn a blind eye or even encourage this kind of system of labour exploitation or it will be impossible to keep this disaster from getting worse before new technologies and systems of operation are created and put in place to maybe one day remove all the rods and melted fuel or create a new Chernobyl type sarcophagus, if that is even possible for this site.

This sacrifice of workers is not particular to Japan, so enough of the bashing, it is at the very heart of industrial capitalism. Just read a little labour history.

See for design of new sarcophagus being built for Chernobyl. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=worlds-largest-movable-structure-seal-chernobyl-reactor.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

One of the most common reasons for using subcontractors is to be able to say, "We didn't do anything wrong. We followed the rules and regulations. We did not know they were doing anything wrong."

Brits, no doubt, will recall Lord Nelson holding a telescope to his blind eye at the battle of Copenhagen so that he could not see the signal that was being displayed.

TEPCO, you see (if, like them, you use your blind eye), did nothing wrong this time. They let the subcontractors do it for them.

This is a prime example of why good whistle-blowing protection laws are needed in Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

This news has come out in several European newspapers.

The Asahi urged plant operator Tokyo Electric Power to strictly manage the safety of work crews.

Now why would they do that, when they refused to do so for the Japanese people? Their nuclear energy is "cheap" only as long as they don't have to care about human lives nor security, and they can make taxpayers pay for all their damage.

Yasukuni, your government is not going to do anything. You're going to have to do it yourselves. It may not be pretty nor "Japanese", but it will be for your children.

Yes, where is Basroil?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Stuart haywardJul. 22, 2012 - 07:03AM JST

Just one more example that Tepco and the companies they hire, can (not) be trusted. The measurement's they give should always be questioned, I bet there still (baffled!)

Saying this was TEPCO is like saying that a crazy guy who slashes people on the street represents his employers. While a very Japanese thing to say, it can't be further from the truth.

There should be no leniency towards contractors that violate laws for financial gain, and I hope there will be some sort of reckless endangerment case brought against the contractors.

However, as Zichi said, it is currently very difficult for TEPCO to monitor these people, and hopefully they will implement some sort of change. They can't really afford any more bad press, especially when they had pretty much nothing to do with it. They can set an example for other companies in Japan, by taking the time to resolve this issue in such a way that it will likely never happen again.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

This offers a great insight into Japanese culture. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, most people just do what they are told.

The people who stood up for themselves should be commended.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

For me the critical question I would like to be asked and checked upon is this - what is present status and how are these nine workers doing today? I dont see this critical information covered in any reports that I came across. Anyone knows this can you please share the same? I am sure this is not the last such scandal and we can expect more things to come out as time goes by.... Meanwhile I hope the nine workers are safe and doing well. I dont think being contract workers they would have necessary medical coverage.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

tallgaijinJul. 22, 2012 - 11:54AM JST

For me the critical question I would like to be asked and checked upon is this - what is present status and how are these nine workers doing today?

They are perfectly fine. As Zichi mentioned, they would hit their legal limit after at least 3 months, meaning the most they can ever receive is 200mSv/yr. That's enough to increase cancer risk by 1%, but no immediate problems. Hopefully the first thing anyone does in this case is to give those workers lifetime medical coverage, though there is little chance of them getting anything.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Of course they did.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yakuza at their best.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The last time I posted , my post was removed. To tell people to cover their badges that are supposed to prevent overexposure to toxic perhaps fatal levels of radiation, and to allow the true levels of radiation being getting into the air and water and subsequently into the bodies of human being and other animals? When companies tried to do that in the US we got Erin Brockovitch. When a company does something that is a coverup that could result in sickness or death ? What is the word for that in Japan. I won't write the word for it in the US because I don't want my post deleted again. But no matter what the word is or isn't, I think we all know what it is. The US has been taking heat world wide for things they have done in the pharmaceutical and agricultural and nuclear world. We messed up. We killed people. Now with the fish on the coast of California being filled with radiation directly traceable to Fukushima and the same with rain water and milk in many states. What do say when people lie about things that cause death? I know. We all know. If Tepco would admit what they were doing, then what?

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Subcontracting a nuclear job is ridiculous. Even janitors need to be trained. They might be the last person standing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Pro-nuclear posters (paid apologists) on this site should stand up and be accountable by going to work at Daiichi, getting their "safe" dose of radiation and waiting to enjoy the effects in years to come. Otherwise, all your words ring hallow as just more technocratic babble intended to confuse the key issues.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

If there were a truly independent body committed to safe work practices with powers to fine and prosecute, and able to investigate work place accidents and safety breaches, then I might expect an improvement. I have searched and can not find any besides the Department of Labour who side with the company more than not, they also have no power except politely asking for compliance. Like an onion the more you peel away the more you cry.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

basroil: "Saying this was TEPCO is like saying that a crazy guy who slashes people on the street represents his employers."

You're pretty good at making very bad analogies. No, it would not at all be like saying that, but if you want to make such an analogy, you could say it's like a knife company hired a company on the cheap so that they wouldn't have to pay any benefits and could pay rock bottom prices in terms of wages (after the initial bribe to the company heads) to test the sharpness of their knives, and then the company asked the employees to lie about the dullness of the blades and slash themselves to prove the sharpness so that the head company (TEPCO) could turn a blind eye and avoid responsibility. Your comments are a prime example of how they get away with it.

Either way, it is still the fault of TEPCO -- they hired people they KNEW would be cheap, probably corrupt, and whom they would not have to account for instead of being responsible. TEPCO doesn't take the lion's share of the blame here, perhaps, but they are still at least in part to blame, while people at Build-Up should be arrested and locked behind bars. The government also takes a share of the blame, for they allow companies like TEPCO to hire subcontractors and treat people like garbage.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Actually what a great idea, children in the area should make lead shields for their Thyroid Glands... Problem solved

Why not make lead suits for farm animals too, and construction items, say gravel.

There is a new opening in the fashion business...lead pants and tops, paper masks so passé, lead baby lead.

I was negative about this news, but now as I suck a pencil I see the opportunities, turn that frown upside down.

The lead balloon is a positive it will protect you.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

smithinjapan - exactly!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What's amazing is that you get a lot of outrage over people in China and/or SE Asia being used in sweat shops to make products for dirt cheap while undergoing extremely poor and unsafe conditions, but in Japan it's par for the course.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Before the nuclear disaster there were about 80,000 nuclear gyspies, more than the total work force employed directly by the nuke village. They just went from atomic plant to atomic plant seeking a days work. This gyspies are now lacking work so some of them have headed to the Fukushima plant. The competition for work is high so the contractors can offer them less pay.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

zichi: "The competition for work is high so the contractors can offer them less pay."

While the government and the people turn a blind eye and TEPCO shrugs and says, "Wasn't me!".

6 ( +10 / -4 )

In Japan, two out of every three people get cancer in this lifetime. Of these 66%, half will die of other causes before the cancer gets them, and the other half will die directly from the cancer, Basroil.

How can you say, quote: "Hopefully the first thing anyone does in this case is to give those workers lifetime medical coverage, though there is little chance of them getting anything."

Perhaps you would like to rephrase.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In this license mad nation how is that nuclear clean-up personnel are not subject to strict registration and training plus lifetime health monitoring? How is it possible for an employment agency to dispatch anonymous workers to a nuclear zone without maintaining precision records about each and every individual contracted? What legal status do such agencies have to profit from this kind of enterprise? Shouldn't this be a dead-center exclusive responsibility of the nation's nuclear industry regulators?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

WTF...... put this executive of Build Up in Jail for life and the person in TEPCO who hired him. This will not stop and just go on and on until someone is crucified. Geeezzzz just for money, people will sell his soul to the devil. Where is that Nuke energy minister? What has he got to say about this? And NODA....? forget about your political career now and handle this crisis a priority. At least you have something good to leave to the people of Japan when you step down.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Max jail sentence

3 ( +3 / -0 )

basroil: " Of those, a quarter are lung cancer and related diseases, which are typically 80%+ correlated with smoking."

Here we go with the smoking rates again on the issue of Fukushima!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Or 200 mSv is equivalent to... 2000 chest x-rays.

I don't really like the argument that X is worse than Y so we can ignore Y. They're both bad and something to be avoided. Ideally you wouldn't want to increase the chance of getting cancer by any %. And why are we only counting deaths, it could be cancer that causes much pain and suffering.

3 ( +5 / -1 )

nandakandamandaJul. 22, 2012 - 03:46PM JST

In Japan, two out of every three people get cancer in this lifetime. Of these 66%, half will die of other causes before the cancer gets them, and the other half will die directly from the cancer,

In Japan, 55% of men and 42% of women get cancer, and 26% of men 16% of women die from it. Ones where rates have no major attractors are about three quarters, and cancer could play a role in those.

Assuming they are all men, they have a 0.44% chance of getting cancer due to radiation assuming they received 200mSv, and just 0.2% chance of dying from radiation related cancer. Well, the actual probabilities are much more complicated than the simple multiplication used here, but this can give you an idea as to how small the chance of these workers getting cancer as a result of work is.

Note that I stated "little chance" rather than no chance. They in fact have a small chance of getting cancer even with the maximum possible exposures, which they may not have received.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Firm told workers at Fukushima plant to lie about radiation dose

Of course they did

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@basroil - that's enough to increase cancer risk by 1%, but no immediate problems.

That's pretty callous. Would you be happy to work in a job that increased your risk of cancer, 20~30 years down the road? Or send your family or children to work there?

Those nuclear gypsies or gamma sponges can expect no medical care or support from the government or their employer, as they will have had no evidence of radiation received, as happened to similar cases in the Wakasa-bay reactors.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Well, "temp" workers are like tranisents with enough income to string them along until the next pay check.

Since concepts of permanence--such as "truth"--are somewhat illusory to thei daily existence, it's simply a smart move by the sub-corporation to take advantage!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

basroil,

we don't know the accumulated radiation exposure of the workers because we don't know their work history. They could have already worked at the plant under a different sub contractor, and they could still be working there under another one.

They could even just use a different name. I doubt any background checks are being made. Some of these workers are paid daily, no questions asked.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

zichiJul. 23, 2012 - 01:28AM JST

we don't know the accumulated radiation exposure of the workers because we don't know their work history. They could have already worked at the plant under a different sub contractor, and they could still be working there under another one.

They could even just use a different name. I doubt any background checks are being made. Some of these workers are paid daily, no questions asked.

These workers could have done any number of jobs in any number of fields. We don't know their health history, living habits, or anything else. I don't think you can rule out anything YOU think is not related, because as you mentioned, we know nothing about them, only about the possible work conditions and maximum exposure each year.

What we do know is that they received no more than the maximum radiation they would be working in, and that is only enough for 200mSv/yr according to your information. That would raise their rate by just 0.4% or so. While working at the plant they could have used carcinogenic solutions, and nobody would care because radiation is so much more dangerous that something known to cause cancer.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

sarcasm aside, but using subcontractors and temp workers for such work, while probably unavoidable, is certainly symptomatic of the dysfunctional economics associated with TEPCO from the start.

you people do understand my sarcasm is aimed at the system, not the temp workers, right? just wandering about the 4 negs, in this case.

my sympathies are with the temps.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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