Reuters, Dec. 29, 2013: SPECIAL REPORT- Japan’s homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up [...] Some say better homeless than going into debt by working [...] Gangsters run Fukushima labour brokers [...] Sendai, the biggest city in the disaster zone, has emerged as a hiring hub for homeless men. Many work [...] cleaning up radioactive hotspots [...] Seiji Sasa, 67 [recruits] homeless men at the Sendai train station to work in the nuclear cleanup. [...] homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say. [...] a shelter funded by the city [...] sent other homeless men to work for him [...] 55-year-old homeless [...] worker’s paystub, reviewed by Reuters, showed charges for food, accommodation and laundry were docked from his monthly pay equivalent to about $1,500, leaving him with $10 [...] The problem of workers running themselves into debt is widespread.
Kenichi Sayama, general manager at subcontractor Fujisai: “If you don’t get involved (with gangs), you’re not going to get enough workers [...] The construction industry is 90 percent run by gangs.”
Yasuhiro Aoki, Baptist pastor and homeless advocate: “Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages [...] Then at the end of the month, they’re left with no pay at all.”
Shizuya Nishiyama, 57 years old: He now sleeps on a cardboard box in Sendai Station [...] [For decontamination work, an employer] offered him $90 a day [...] he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work [but] would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt. “We’re an easy target for recruiters [...] if we haven’t eaten, they offer to find us a job.”
Mr. Anand Grover, Esq., United Nations Special Rapporteur, published Oct. 24, 2013: (at 15:30 in) “These workers told me, ‘Do you know we are actually living in a shanty town?’ I can show you the photographs — literally on the pavement, in the non-used pavement between the railway station there were plastic huts where people were living, in Japan, in Tokyo — not Bombay. It actually astounded me that these things were happening. Then they told me that people come take them, give them ‘X’ amount of money [...] They’re ready to go into the fire and die. Other people are not ready to do it.”
Published: December 29th, 2013 at 9:23 pm ET