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Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work

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They needed to find people they could underpay, and irradiate, and still be happy to have the job. Let's hope they are compensated

14 ( +18 / -4 )

The use of uninformed foreigners for dirty and dangerous work, leading to radiation exposure?

Not really a positive image for Japanese businesses...

15 ( +18 / -3 )

The "immigrant" workers always get the short end of the stick, no matter what country they live in. At least here the union is willing to take their case to court.

I for one want to hear the outcome of this particular case, and not just have it disappear, like so many others, that should have follow ups!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Yubaru - The "immigrant" workers always get the short end of the stick, no matter what country they live in.

This is quite a generalisation. Perhaps you should look at Australia's immigrant workers instead of making such a generalised statement. They receive the exact same benefits and salaries as every other worker.

The abuse and exploitation of these immigrant workers in Japan is rife throughout the whole system. The treatment of the immigrant nurses is absolutely disgraceful. However, the treatment of Japanese workers is not much better with power harassment and intimidation. TIJ!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Welcome the world of globalization. Weaker unions, greedier corporations, rocketing inequality. Either get used to it or oppose it (like I do).

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japanese people exploiting non-Japanese?! What a shocker. Wake me when there is real news such as a crackdown on websites for compensated dating.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The bbc had a very good story ( very good not the best use) about Japan's abuse of foreign workers. They have no rights no recourse and no support from the Ministry of labour. Best to avoid working in Japan.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

It's been known on the ground that organized crime played a big part as the "middle man." There was an enormous amount of money thrown at the clean up and there has been close to zero oversight on where that money was actually spent. Have you seen any public reports? Underpaid and exploited workers are bearing the brunt of this, and I'm glad that these workers have a union to support them. Check out Hiwada's web site. They list their capital as JPY10,000,000. That's only about $100,000 @ 100 yen. They're a small company and the middle men recruiting folks came looking for labor and paid them more than what the trainees could have contributed to the company.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Interesting that everyone is taking the foreign side of the story without waiting to hear from the Japanese side.

-25 ( +2 / -27 )

Hiwada Co, wait that's only one, where are the rest of companies? In total are four companies were reported, last year none of those companies name were revealed last year so we have progress now.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/10/19/national/four-japan-firms-used-foreign-trainees-clean-fukushima-plant-nuclear-meltdowns-final-report/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In this case Hiwada should be held responsible - and penalized - for violating the safety and health of these Vietnamese workers.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Interesting that everyone is taking the foreign side of the story without waiting to hear from the Japanese side.

No. It's because it is well known that this work is subcontracted out to Yakuza linked and other shady companies. The only thing new in this story is that the victims might get some redress.

Abuse of foreign labor is pretty common throughout Asia. Vietnam companies do it as well, but there is little chance that the courts in Vietnam (or China, or Korea....) would hear a case like this. So at least Japan is offering a semblance of justice.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

 Let's hope they are compensated

If compensation for acts against humanity is a kick in the groin for abe and his ilk, this, sadly, isn't going to happen.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good on these trainees. Come on Japan, there's lots of foreigners willing to work and help in your work force, they just to be treated and paid decently. Cases like won't likely deter foreign workers from coming to Japan but its definitely a huge red flag

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It's been known on the ground that organized crime played a big part as the "middle man." There was an enormous amount of money thrown at the clean up and there has been close to zero oversight on where that money was actually spent.

Yes this is for real, know what your getting into as a foreigner in Japan. I know other countries have their own issues, but we are not in other countries. Any kind of a middle man situation in Japan involving gaijin is suspect. Been there done that. Ask questions, and if they go bizerk, like how dare you ask that...then step. It was interesting, after the 3-11 disaster, so many US companies thought they could come in and bid on the projects. How many actually made it in?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The bbc had a very good story ( very good not the best use) about Japan's abuse of foreign workers. They have no rights no recourse and no support from the Ministry of labour. Best to avoid working in Japan.

I saw that documentary, if its the one about the exploitation of Chinese workers. That reporter actually could of put himself in danger. Very good reporting, unlike reporters from my own country who come to Japan to showcase how wonderful everything is, without doing any real investigative reporting, but will go to great efforts to attack their own, or even China etc.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

this is truly disgusting !

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Very good reporting, unlike reporters from my own country who come to Japan to showcase how wonderful everything

Not only foreigner even people in Japan have no clue about this "trainee" program even it's already exist from 1992. They pretty shock just to find out how these trainee is being treated through series of serious incidents.

 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/08/13/national/japans-foreign-trainee-program-suffering-shocking-lack-oversight/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@alwaysspeakingwisdom

Interesting that everyone is taking the foreign side of the story without waiting to hear from the Japanese side.

Because news about Japanese trainee program come up pretty often, people who give comment in here pretty familiar with their condition from previous news coverage. If those trainee even bother to sue, usually terrible things already happened. Those trainee are having really poor condition, unpaid over time, still working on weekend and holliday etc.

In one occasion even their employer asked to one of their worker to do abortion if she want to keep her job.

www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201812020027.html

6 ( +6 / -0 )

We were not told that it was dangerous work.

Probably because it wasn't dangerous work.

I am very worried about my future health

I drank coffee this morning. Coffee has caffeine. caffeine in doses 300x greater than consumed can be dangerous. Therefore the coffee company owes me 12M.

Wait a minute .... Water. Too much Water.... You can drown! Water is deadly! I've drank Nestle bottled water! NESTLE OWES ME MONEY!

I wonder if these immigrants are aware they probably were exposed to higher doses of radiation on the plane to Japan than they've been exposed to in the time they've been in Japan.

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

People who exploit and abuse other human beings are the scum of the earth and so are those who support these sorts of practices. It doesn't matter who it is being done to by whom. We all must stand together as human beings and denouce this practice or we are the same as those who do it

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This time a company name was released which is commendable

Next is the penalty that the company will receive that I can bet all my savings that it will be a light tap on the hand.

The vietnamese will be lucky to receive 500,000yen each.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Tyler Stone

Probably because it wasn't dangerous work.

Those "trainee" are blue collar worker from third world countries that even have really less clue where they're working in Japan to be exact. Beside that those trainees usually extremely underpaid since employer always claim that they are trainee not workers so is not entitle to equal payment.

Even when that clean up job using Japanese worker, those worker have no clue what their working on. Some of them even homeless people that is not easy having good regular job.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-fukushima-workers/japan-must-act-to-protect-fukushima-clean-up-workers-un-experts-idUSKBN1L11CM

Fukushima cleaning job for "construction" companies is really lucrative project, plant owner knew it's not easy to find people to clean up so they'll put extra money to compensate companies to do clean up. On the other hand those "construction" companies know that these trainee they are clueless and willing to work underpaid, so they can make profit from it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Enticing foreigners to Japan then putting them to work in extremely hazardous conditions.

Very very poor form Japan, disgraceful and shameful.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have said decontamination work does not fit the purpose of the trainee program.

Which really means - "we're not interested. Nothing to see here... Move along"...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Probably because it wasn't dangerous work.

That's not the only issue. The core of the issue is for being lied about their work. When you are employed somewhere, you expect the work described in the CONTRACT you signed to be accurate and not a blatant lie.

I drank coffee this morning. Coffee has caffeine. caffeine in doses 300x greater than consumed can be dangerous. Therefore the coffee company owes me 12M.

> Wait a minute .... Water. Too much Water.... You can drown! Water is deadly! I've drank Nestle bottled water! NESTLE OWES ME MONEY!

Ridiculous statement. No one is forcing or in fact will force you to drink any of that in a excessive amount, outside of a criminal action. Those people were basically forced to be exposed to radiation as they were obliged to work on behalf of their contract.

I wonder if these immigrants are aware they probably were exposed to higher doses of radiation on the plane to Japan than they've been exposed to in the time they've been in Japan.

As an example one get exposed to 0.035 mSv during a flight if you were to fly within the United States from the east coast to the west coast. As a comparison, in Namie for the first year after the Daiichi power plant accident, the average effective dose for the evacuees due to artificial sources from the accident was 5.0 mSv. Note also that the average effective dose due to natural sources for the evacuees from Namie Town before the accident was estimated to be 1.9 mSv. So next time please make sure to check that you know what you are talking about....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Workers whether domestic or foreign should be informed of the work they are being employed to do. W

The decontamination work pays higher rates due to "danger pay" but even Japanese workers at times didn't receive the additional payments and some did not receive payments for overtime work.

The problems will continue to occur with the work lasting many more years.

The decontamination work in the post isn't inside the nuclear power plant itself. Until recently no foreigners were allowed to work there but I think the government changed it to anyone who can speak Japanese.

I have said many times, there should be a government agency in Fukushima were all workers need to register their details and a record kept of there radiation exposure levels and health conditions and any complaints about their pay and work.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Has the media ever investigated the involvement of organized crime as labor brokers in this scheme, or is that a stupid question?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very very poor form Japan, disgraceful and shameful.

Except this has nothing to do with Japan. All Japan can be even remotely guilty of is creating a system that has potential to be abused. It's already illegal to do the things that the company did to these trainees.

However, the only way the state can fix these issues is to remove the trainee program entirely and then no-one would be happy right? If you're going to go work somewhere else, you need to know what you're signing in your contract, and you need to also do your due diligence when choosing a company.

I feel for these Vietnamese if the allegations are proven to be true, but it's also not really something that you can blame Japan for.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Has the media ever investigated the involvement of organized crime as labor brokers in this scheme, or is that a stupid question?

Not stupid, but perhaps naive. Japan doesn't really have investigative journalism due to the press clubs. Step out of line, get kicked out of the press club and lose your sources.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Koriyma and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018" were not dangerous place.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

, but it's also not really something that you can blame Japan for.

I disagree. The government has ultimate oversight of everyone within a countries borders.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Zentouitsu Workers Union, a Tokyo-based labor union that supports foreign trainees

Well done Zentouitsu Union staff. Good job, people!

Hiwada Co, wait that's only one, where are the rest of companies? In total are four companies were reported, last year none of those companies name were revealed last year so we have progress now

Name and shame, step by step. Why can't the Japanese government organize proper oversight of these companies?

I mean, Japan spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year on PR yet stories like this simply tarnish its image all over again. Why can't they just do it right the first time? It makes no sense....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In the last decade the number of westerners living in Japan decreased and rightly so.

I see no point for a person from a developed country to live like a robot machine and work without it’s right.

On the other hand the number of foreigners from the developing countries increased drammaticaly compared from the last decade.

These people come here due to the poor conditions of their countries and then get ashamed and used like slaves from these sneaky people.

Human rights are something still hard to comprehend for many companies in Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Has the media ever investigated the involvement of organized crime as labor brokers in this scheme, or is that a stupid question?

Yes they have and articles were published and available online. I read them a few years ago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Entire world knows some cities in Fukushima are affected or contaminated by radio active . I think these employees must be aware too before coming to Japan and must be paid very high wages than normal hourly wages due to risk.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

In the last decade the number of westerners living in Japan decreased

Really? By how much?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In the last decade the number of westerners living in Japan decreased and rightly so.

You have some atual data to back this claim up ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would have said no way, do it yourself. Pretty grim stuff to be honest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Expect no miracles in the near future. If big brother isn’t watching companies will just do what’s financially most beneficial. Foreigners are just a number, a faceless entity. To get some respect the newly come workers will need to get under the skin of their employers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ksteer

it's also not really something that you can blame Japan for.

Ridiculous.

The government knows very well but turns a blind eye.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Interesting that everyone is taking the foreign side of the story without waiting to hear from the Japanese side.

Here's something from the Japanese side:

According to Zentouitsu Workers Union, a Tokyo-based labor union that supports foreign trainees, Hiwada made the plaintiffs conduct decontamination work in the cities of Koriyma and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“I feel for these Vietnamese if the allegations are proven to be true, but it's also not really something that you can blame Japan for.”

So you’re going to blame the Vietnamese trainees instead? Makes sense, I guess, for a commenter who seems incapable of ever blaming Japan or Japanese people for anything bad.

I like Japan and its people, but I can’t understand the hold that Japan and its people have over some rabidly pro-Japanese foreigners as well as some naturalised Japanese citizens. I see this phenomenon as comparable to the hold that Vladimir Putin has over Donald Trump.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Interesting that everyone is taking the foreign side of the story without waiting to hear from the Japanese side.

The Japanese government has allowed Japan Inc to exploit immigrant workers or "students" for many years now and letting them clean up radioactive waste is simply appalling.

What excuse can the Japanese government possibly have to let these practices continue ?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Human trafficking still alive and well. These guys will see nothing. They will be quietly deported. The companies that abused them will see no punishment, and the government, under Abe's program, will say they cannot see the details of the sub-sub contracted companies, but will vow to be more... ummm... transparent. Then they'll bring in the next lot of "slaves".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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