Japan's homeless hired for Fukushima cleanup

The country's poorest are paid under minimum wage to clear up dangerous nuclear waste

By Natasha Lennard
Published December 30, 2013 7:33PM (EST)

The ongoing and potentially deadly work of cleaning up Japan's nuclear disaster zone has fallen on the country's neediest.

According to a Reuters report, homeless Japanese people are being recruited (reportedly the work of Japanese gangsters) to work for under minimum wage to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan, as the radiation cleanup following the Fukushima meltdown runs heavily behind schedule.

Via Reuters:

In January, October and November, Japanese gangsters were arrested on charges of infiltrating construction giant Obayashi Corp's network of decontamination subcontractors and illegally sending workers to the government-funded project.

In the October case, homeless men were rounded up at Sendai's train station by Sasa, then put to work clearing radioactive soil and debris in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage, according to police and accounts of those involved. The men reported up through a chain of three other companies to Obayashi, Japan's second-largest construction company.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Fukushima Homeless Japan Nuclear Plant Radiation Radioactive