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James Burgess

James Burgess

James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…

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Have TEPCO Unknowingly Hired the Yakuza to Sort Fukushima Clean-Up?

Large criminal organisations are always on the lookout for the next opportunity to rip people off and make a quick bit of easy money. The disaster at the Fukushima power plant and the estimated $150 billion clean-up operation would have shone like a beacon to the Japanese mafia (otherwise known as the Yakuza).

After interviewing around 80 people working as casual labourers and managers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant clean-up operation, Reuters released a report delving into the myriad of problems surrounding the operation, and the possible Yakuza links.

One man that Reuters talked to was Tetsuya Hayashi, a 41 year old construction worker who decided to try and get a job at Fukushima. After being recruited to monitor the radiation exposure of clean-up workers leaving the area, he turned up for his first day to be passed around by various sub-contractors, and then handed a role in one of the most radioactive zones of the plant.

Related article: Japanese Political Elite Divided over Country’s Nuclear Future

He was handed an oxygen tank, told to wear a double layered protective suit, and warned that he will likely burn through his annual exposure limit in less than an hour. Angry at how he was treated and the lack of care about his safety that the sub-contractors showed, he complained to a more senior contractor working on the project, and was fired on the spot.

Cleanup workers at Fukushima

The main problem is that Tepco have handed out contracts to other companies to take charge of the clean-up work, and these in turn have outsourced the work to sub-contractors and so on and so forth until in some cases there are layers of subcontractors that run as many as seven deep. It is reported that many of these subcontractors have connections to the Yakuza, who just don’t care about the welfare of the people working for them.

In some cases the workers hired to do the job are already in debt to the Yakuza. The bosses then subtract payments for the debt straight from the wages, and then hand over the remaining money in brown envelopes. This supplies the Yakuza with cheap labour to carry out the job, allowing them to pocket more of the money handed to them by Tepco.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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