For first time, officials admit to ‘shortage of workers’ at Fukushima — Tepco promises ‘additional efforts’ to get more — BBC reveals homeless people cleaning reactors and “modern slavery” in Japan nuclear industry… exactly 14 years ago

Published: October 29th, 2013 at 6:57 pm ET
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The Atlantic, Oct. 29, 2013: […] “We are not sure about our long-term staffing situation during the upcoming process of debris removal, which requires different skills,” [Tepco] vice president Zengo Aizawa told reporters. […] the future of the long-term site remediation [is] up in the air as long as the company continues to have trouble recruiting capable workers. In the months following the accident, Tepco claimed to have secured 24,000 workers, but some 16,000 quit within months due to harsh working conditions and the fear of dangerous radiation levels. […] In past months, Tepco officials denied that there was any shortage of workers, but today’s admissions could mark a change […] at least 12,000 workers [are] needed just to take the project through 2015. There are currently just over 8,000.

Jiji Press, Oct. 29, 2013: […] [Tepco president Naomi Hirose said] many plant workers have to perform tasks they are unaccustomed to, as the company faces growing difficulty securing personnel, according to [Ka-tsuhiko Ikeda, secretary general of the NRA Secretariat]. Hirose promised to make additional efforts across the company to secure enough staff for the Fukushima plant, according to Ikeda. […]

14 years ago to the day…

BBC News, Oct. 29, 1999: Japanese nuclear ‘slaves’ at risk […] At least 700 people working in the nuclear industy in Japan may have died from exposure to dangerous levels of radioactivity. The incident at the Tokaimura plant one month ago has revealed dangerous practices likened by some critics to “modern slavery” within the industry […] Employment brokers are recruiting temporary workers from Japan’s growing number of homeless people to do jobs like cleaning nuclear reactors. […] It is thought that 5,000 people a year are employed on a short-term basis. […] Yukoo Fujita, a professor of physics at Keio University has tried to warn temporary workers […] He describes their employment as “a modern form of slavery”. […] Many are too frightened to speak because gangsters are involved in recruiting the homeless. Some seem to believe they are expendable and that no one will notice if a few of them never come back from work. […]

Matsumoto-san, a homeless man living in a park in Tokyo interviewed by BBC in 1999: [He] did a cleaning job for three months at a nuclear plant in Tokaimura near to where the accident took place. He says he was exposed to dangerous conditions: “We were sweeping up dust and had bleepers which went off when the radiation levels were too high, but the supervisors told us not to worry, even though they were bleeping. I got out when I started to feel ill.”

See also: [intlink id=”nuclear-slaves-at-fukushima-workers-have-debts-paid-off-forced-to-stay-as-indentured-servants-foreign-workers-may-soon-be-needed-at-plant-reveals-tepco-vp” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: October 29th, 2013 at 6:57 pm ET
By

12 comments

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12 comments to For first time, officials admit to ‘shortage of workers’ at Fukushima — Tepco promises ‘additional efforts’ to get more — BBC reveals homeless people cleaning reactors and “modern slavery” in Japan nuclear industry… exactly 14 years ago

  • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

    Well at least the guy who got out in 99 is still around to talk about it. Or just wait… maybe that is the message…

  • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

    Well I'll be….

  • wemadethis wemadethis

    These latest insights are difficult to hear but can anyone here say they like the idea of having to invade the island and force the population into working at the plant. It's a rock and a hard place..

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    The plants radiation will rise to levels that melt the insides of people who go close to the stricken reactors if cooling is lost. The power needs to stay on or workers will die too quickly if there is another emergency release of radiation. Cement the cores or face an out of control reaction under the containment vessel.

  • jec jec

    Sure blame the workers..24,000 and then 16,000 quit due to working conditions and radiation. What do you want to bet the 16,000 are SICK and over rad limits..way way over rad limits…TEPCO just likes to blame workers..as does the government. Send in the family members of Abe or the other government officials..they could do as much work in those conditions as the other workers and get as sick! See if Abe is worried about THEIR health…

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    R A D I A T I O N . C A U S E S . C A N C E R

    No human should go near the plant.

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Grampybone, am also wondering if something drastic like cementing the cores needs to be done. We have discussed here whether or not the fractured, partially liquified soil could bear up under the additional weight. Yeah, read the reports, watched the videos on Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The radiation can indeed liquefy one's innards. Sickening but true.

    Kinda wish I could go back & live in the Grampybone days. Was Grampybone a Seminole?

  • We Not They Finally

    Meanwhile, we haven't a clue whether ANYONE is currently at that site. After the monster typhoon, and then the 7.6 earthquake. Yeah, that got downgraded — the USGS does that a lot. Dutchsinse says that the original reading was 7.6.

    So their so-called 8,000 workers may have just been reduced to ZERO. We actually don't know. There hasn't been a single word since the earthquake.

  • Wyakin Wyakin

    This is a well placed ENE juxtaposition of historical and current articles reinforcing the depravity of the NP corporate interest and government complicity.

    Tepco president Naomi Hirose said “many plant workers have to perform tasks they are unaccustomed to…”

    Specialization and efficiency requires knowledge of the job and some repetition. Worker turnover undermines these principles.

    The most current October 22, 2012 long and mid term roadmap on Tepco’s website is an entertaining publication brought to you by the ministry of propaganda. Section “5. Securing a sufficient number of workers and work safety.”
    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/roadmap/images/t121022_01-e.pdf

    Note strategies, with emphasis on employee working condition surveys to address Section 5. Seriously, what do you think one of these workers would say? “Cooling vest should be red, the radiation exposure limits should be dropped to the pre-2011 levels, and this place is great but I wish the cafeteria served more of the locally renowned seafood delicacies, etc.”

    Goal: “the number of heat strokes has significantly reduced compared to FY 2011. (FY 2012: 7/ FY 2011: 23)” Supporting data: “The number of emergency medical transports in July and August increased compared to 2011 throughout Japan (announced by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency).” Is it possible to get slightly more precise measurement of heat stroke and other ailments for FU workers only?

  • Wyakin Wyakin

    Hard to believe this is a serious publication of a company with $63 Billion in revenue per year.

    Where are the strategies or updates provided on recruitment?

    There aren’t any, because Tepco has no idea what it’s doing, how many workers it will require, and it is outsourcing its recruitment to contractors, including those controlled by the Yakuza.

  • Hopinghelplessly

    Read http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Chernobyl-Accident/#.UnMGaPmRAwc in the section "Immediate impact of the Chernobyl accident" they talk about how many workers were needed "About 200,000 people ('liquidators') from all over the Soviet Union were involved in the recovery and clean-up during 1986 and 1987. They received high doses of radiation, averaging around 100 millisieverts. Some 20,000 of them received about 250 mSv and a few received 500 mSv. Later, the number of liquidators swelled to over 600,000 but most of these received only low radiation doses." What's with Tepco?

  • Sure blame the workers..24,000 and then 16,000 quit due to working conditions and radiation. What do you want to bet the 16,000 are SICK and over rad limits..way way over rad limits…TEPCO just likes to blame workers..as does the government.
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