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4 firms made foreign trainees do Fukushima decontamination work

By Behrouz Mehri

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© 2018 AFP

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its called omotenashi

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Um...how about naming these four companies?

Maybe it'd help stop this practice.

35 ( +36 / -1 )

I really cannot believe this is the same country that relied so heavily or foreign slave labor during the war.

28 ( +30 / -2 )

So trainee is the new euphemism for slave labor. "Trainee" in the construction companies where yakuza relations are common. What are they actually trained at in those companies? Endurance?

26 ( +27 / -1 )

just another day for Japan Inc

It's not like there are going to be any repercussions

22 ( +23 / -1 )

 one of the four companies has been slapped with a five-year ban on accepting new foreign trainees

Slapped with? Yeah, slapped with a feather! What about the other companies? What did they get? Nothing? I want to know if these workers were paid all the danger money entitlements for working in the Fukushima clean up or did the companies pocket all the benefits? If the companies had pocketed the benefits it is another case of Japanese corporate fraud going unpunished.

This is not not just a labor law issue. It’s also a human rights issue. These people are being brought in from third world countries and being forced to work in a dangerous environment. It’s reminiscent of the salt mines in Russia. It’s not about importing foreign workers to teach them skills. It’s about importing foreign workers to be low paid slaves.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

1995 documentary Nuclear Ginza https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPD_YeOAJys

Yakuza enlist downtrodden to work at nuclear plants. Recently, we heard reports that the Japanese mafia were forcing the poor and homeless to work in the Fukushima power plant for minimum wage and charging them for food and lodging, sentencing them to death by exposing them to deadly radiation. That has been going on since the 1970′s in Japan. And just like today, the general population still believes and trusts their government to tell them the truth about the dangers.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

There is very little in Japan Inc. that is honest, if anything. I've lived here for many years and have seen so many blatant violations of labor laws and human rights go unpunished. The Japanese code of honor called 'bushido' is actually all 'bullshido'!

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Decontamination doesn’t work. So their training is to learn something that doesn’t work. Just force the victims of the disaster to go home to radiation for the cheapest price.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The story is about Japanese companies illegally using "foreign" workers to make a profit from Japanese residents tax money. It also highlights the nonsense of the labour laws and the oversight of the "Training" scam, oops scheme. I hope as the news filters out and as our sensitive poster above pointed out eloquently they should go home as 3rd world nations actually do have a more structured labor laws than Japan.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Another boil appears in the cancer of this society. Pity.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I know this comment will never reach the website, but, this article really highlights the spinelessness of reporting in Japan.

1) Name the companies

2) Name the local media who were brave enough to report this

3) You mention a "report" several times but do not actually say who made this report, when they made this report, how this report was released or leaked or anything

4) Everyone up here in Tohoku knew this was going on because of previous news reports - including an article in the Guardian 4 years ago, and in Reuters and the Telegraph 5 years ago.

Also, I find it a little strange that this article is written by an AFP photographer!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Not allowed to bring their families? Seriously weak Japan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Was going to watch a movie! But this thread is priceless. On the one hand racist remarks about foreigners doing the work Japanese people won't, but somehow being blamed for crimes? On the other foreigners who have committed no crime being told to go home as we are not wanted? As said absolutely priceless, sums up both this article and the day to day of life in a country that is so delicate that the best argument is go home? Schools have a lot to answer for....go home ha. I am home and it needs to grow up.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Notice two things that make this unique to how Japan deals with human trafficking: 1) the names of the companies are not mentioned; they would be more likely to name the victims and stand up for the right of anonymity of the companies that have carried out abuse. 2) there is ZERO mention of any kind of punishment or what they will do to remedy this kind of obvious crime. Oh, and a third thing -- the program is not being shut down outright, they are just going to "debate" it.

Nothing will change. This is Japan, and there is a Reason they are at the top of the list of human trafficking.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Disillusioned great points. I'm afraid that they will be lost on whom you aim for. But I for one appreciate them. The laws are disfuncianal at best. The inhumanity towards "foreign" people dispicable. Like your self decades of living here ( it is my home), I've seen experienced both the good and the bad. The department of labor and industry are so pathetic and inept it's not Suprising that foreigners are abused, the locals more so.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Nothing new. When the pressure vessels at Fukushima were being replaced, Asian and other overseas labour was used instead of Japanese, as they were allowed to receive higher doses of radiation. The Japanese company who organised this is still heavily involved in the power and nuclear industry, and denies this happened, but numerous workers have testified, including one US nuclear engineer. who also alerted authorities found that the top of one reactor vessel had been assembled 180 degrees out!

The level of incompetence and abuse of workers in the nuclear village here is legendary. As @macv has written above, just watch the UK documentary Nuclear Ginza, bussing the unemployed, debtors and other down-and-outs to the nuclear plants for cleaning and maintenance work. Of course, 6-7 levels of agencies are involved, so the Electrical Power Utilities have plausible denial.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

In the Japanese press, they too won’t name the companies, but they did state that while the companies received ¥6500 per worker per day, the Vietnamese who were lured into working there only received ¥2000 per day! And as everyone has stated above, until the companies are named and real fines and penalties are levied, this will continue to happen.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No one really care about labor laws. Fines are cheap and no real consequences even if you get caught, just a minor fine.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

only 4 ?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@zichi - sorry, it was the shroud that was replaced. CNIC have data exposure on shroud replacement at Fukushima 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 and 1-4. Not sure if you count them as a 'conspiracy site'.

Kei Sugaoka - the whistleblower who shutdown 17 nuclear reactors in Japan in 2002. His job was the repair and inspection of GE’s nuclear reactors which where installed and commissioned in nuclear plants worldwide. One of the plants he inspectioned was the one in Fukushima, Daiichi Genpatsu, which Sugaoka regularly visited for inspections for a period of over 20 years. He also wrote about the labour.

A testimony of former reactor engineer, Mitsuhiko Tanaka, who says he turned his back on the nuclear industry after Chernobyl, told Japan Today that he had assisted in covering up the critical design flaw while working for a unit of Hitachi in 1974.

Will see what else I have.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Need to determine if there was coercion, full disclosure of the hazards, and provision of adequate protection from hazards.

Perpetual exploitation of the disadvantaged is universal. In the 3rd world, the poor exploit those even poorer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi - it was a Reuters report. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear/special-report-japans-throwaway-nuclear-workers-idUSTRE75N18A20110624

In 1997, the effort to save the 21-year-old reactor from being scrapped at a large loss to its operator, Tokyo Electric, also included a quiet effort to skirt Japan’s safety rules: foreign workers were brought in for the most dangerous jobs, a manager of the project said. 

“It’s not well known, but I know what happened,” Kazunori Fujii, who managed part of the shroud replacement in 1997, told Reuters. “What we did would not have been allowed under Japanese safety standards.”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Missed the key point:

The workaround was to bring in foreign workers who would absorb a full-year’s allowable dose of radiation of between 20 millisieverts and 25 millisieverts in just a few days. 

“We brought in workers from Southeast Asia and Saudi Arabia who had experience building oil tankers. They took a heavier dose of radiation than Japanese workers could have,” said Fujii, adding that American workers were also hired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi - I challenge your comment that foreign unskilled labor was used to replace the pressure vessels/shrouds.

Was the above acceptable data? A Reuters article, not a conspiracy site.

Oil tanker builders from Southeast Asia and Saudi Arabia, not nuclear engineers.

Totally agree that TEPCO is not fit to operate NPPs, as well as KEPCO, who were the subject of the Nuclear Ginza documentary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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