Die Arbeiter in Fukushima Daiichi - Ein Aufruf

Energiepolitik - Atomkraft

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 16, April 22, 2013.
Zum Jahrestag der Tschernobylkatastrophe am 26. April 1986

An appeal for improving labour conditions of Fukushima Daiichi workers 

Sumi Hasegawa with an introduction by Paul Jobin 

Reacting to testimonies of workers published in Sekai (a progressive Japanese monthly journal) and recent radio broadcasts, this individual call from Canada echoes the requests of Japanese NGOs that have been engaged in negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Labor since April 2011 to defend the rights of the workers involved in the “cleanup” of the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and of those hired to carry out “decontamination” work in Fukushima prefecture.1

 If one considers the tremendous task remaining to be done in Fukushima Daiichi (such as the removal of the thousands of spent fuel rods) to avoid an apocalyptic scenario for Japan and the northern hemisphere,2 the workers employed at Fukushima Daiichi merit world attention and support. Their living and working conditions are indeed apocalyptic.


Besides the problems evoked in this call, another major issue emphasized by the Japanese NGOs is the lack of health insurance for most contract workers. Concerning radiation protection, the biggest problems are the following:

- The Ministry has decided to deny health follow-up checks to workers exposed to a cumulative dose below 50 mSv for external radiation exposure (only those above this dose will receive a one-year cancer test);

- TEPCO declared that there would be no records kept for internal radiation below 2 mSv;

- There is thus far no systematic dosimetry, nor have there been health follow-up checks for the people employed—mainly on a temporary basis—in the “decontamination” work on the various hot spots of Fukushima prefecture which the Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center’s Hideyuki Ban has called “displacing the contamination.”3

All of these issues require immediate attention and response from concerned citizens in Japan and internationally. Paul Jobin

Paul Jobin is Director, French Center for Research on Contemporary China, CEFC, Taipei Office, Associate Professor, University of Paris Diderot, and an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate.

Previous articles in Focus on the conditions and plight of Fukushima workers:

Anders Pape Møller and Timothy A. Mousseau, Uncomfortable Questions in the Wake of Nuclear Accidents at Fukushima and Chernobyl

Shoko Yoneyama, Life-world: Beyond Fukushima and Minamata

Iwata Wataru, Nadine Ribault and Thierry Ribault, Thyroid Cancer in Fukushima: Science Subverted in the Service of the State

Gabrielle Hecht, Nuclear Janitors: Contract Workers at the Fukushima Reactors and Beyond
Paul Jobin, Fukushima One Year On: Nuclear workers and citizens at risk

David McNeill, Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant at One Year: Back in the Disaster Zone

Cara O’Connell, Health and Safety Considerations: Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Workers at Risk of Heat-Related Illness

Matthew Penney, Nuclear Workers and Fukushima Residents at Risk: Cancer Expert on the Fukushima Situation


ABE Shinzo, Prime Minister of Japan
TAMURA Norihisa, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japan
SHIMOKOBE Kazuhiko, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd. (TEPCO)
HIROSE Naomi, President, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd.(TEPCO)

An Appeal to Improve Labor Conditions for Workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant

Labor conditions for the workers employed to clean up after the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant operated by TEPCO have worsened considerably since the time of the accident; compensation has decreased, the housing situation has worsened, and more.This has been reported in at least three forums: first, on the radio programHôdô suru rajio Radio Broadcast News] broadcast on March 15, 2013, specifically in a segment called “Radio Broadcast News Brings You the True Story of the Two Years since the Nuclear Accident” (hereafter referred to as:Radio Broadcast News); second, a roundtable discussion published in the April 2013 issue of the journalSekaithat featured three workers at the nuclear plant, entitled “What is happening now at 1-F [an abbreviation for “Fukushima Dai-ichi”]?” (hereafter:Roundtable); and third, a report filed in the same issue ofSekaiby Fuse Yûjin titled “1-F Has Not Yet Been Restored” (hereafter:Report).These sources have publicized the issue in some detail, so in what follows, I would like to draw from these sources what I consider to be the main points of concern and my opinions on how to address them.


What all three sources indicate as the common cause for the worsening of conditions for workers at 1-F is TEPCO’s letting outside corporations bid to provide services in order to cut costs. A company attempting to become a TEPCO contractor will submit a bid below the current rate, and this regularly results in eight or even nine layers of subcontractors, so it becomes clear why the conditions for the workers employed at the bottom of these chains of subcontracted labor get progressively worse.For example, the workers who had been performing a job at the time of the accident have seen their numbers cut in half while still expected to do the same job as before (Radio Broadcast News); moreover, workers who had been housed in hotels in Iwaki city and bused in and out of the disaster site were moved to prefab units or abandoned houses in a place nearer the disaster site called Hironomachi, and were expected to provide their own meals and their own hot water for bathing instead of having it provided for them, and even transportation to and from the disaster site became their responsibility (Radio Broadcast News).Hironomachi is located in an area that was designated an Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Zone until just the beginning of this year, and almost none of its former residents have returned; the radiation levels there are reportedly much higher than in Iwaki.

So just imagine for a moment: during the day you perform intense labor in a highly radioactive zone, and when you return to your cold house, no one is there to greet you, in fact there is almost no one anywhere around you at all; would you have the will to go out and buy ingredients to make yourself a proper meal?Would there be any day when trying to get as much sleep as possible wouldn’t take priority over preparing a balanced meal or taking a bath? To cut costs in these areas displays in extreme form a complete disregard for the health and wellbeing of workers.

In terms of wages as well, even workers with seniority dating from before the accident are finding themselves being paid about two thousand yen less per day, along with the elimination of extra compensation for hazardous work conditions; there is testimony as well that at the lowest end of the spectrum, it is not uncommon for the daily wage to dip to just eight thousand yen (Report).Even more shocking, according to Radio Broadcast News, in response to a recent survey taken by TEPCO of its subcontracted workers, 5% reported earning less than 837 yen per hour (Tokyo minimum wage)!This survey is one supposedly administered regularly by TEPCO to assess the situation of its subcontracted labor, but in fact, TEPCO does not administer it directly.Rather, the surveys are entrusted to the main contractor to distribute to its subcontractors, and so on.Some workers report that during the surveys they are pointedly reminded by their bosses not to“write anything unusual” (Report), while others report having to fill out the surveys in front of their bosses or even being told what to write as they fill them out (Radio Broadcast News).So it is hard to believe that the results of this survey reflect the true working conditions of these employees, yet even it shows that 9% of them work at least five layers of subcontractors below the main contractor; 15% are “false” contract workers, that is, the company from which they receive wages and the company for which they are said to be working are in fact different; and another 15% report not being told how much radiation they are exposed to during a day(Radio Broadcast News).

It is a clear violation of the Labor Standards Act to employ this sort of “false” contract labor or to expose workers to unknown levels of radiation.If this survey was done properly, imagine what sort of conditions might be exposed!WhenSekaiasked TEPCO about the marked decrease in worker compensation and elimination of hazard pay, TEPCO’s public relations department explained, “The costs entailed in the job, including consideration of working conditions, are stipulated in the contracts we make, but these employees are contracted to subcontractors, and thus we have no knowledge of how they are compensated; after all, we cannot pretend to speak to the workings of companies with whom we have no contract” (Report).Further, when asked about the various other problems reported on the survey, TEPCO said, “We request of our contractors, as the contracting company, that their subcontractors provide workers with adequate wages, support for their basic needs, and everything else guaranteed by the Constitution” (Report).

But this survey is not something that occurred for the first time just now.It has been administered regularly for some time.In the two years following the accident, these problems have not only been left unaddressed, they’ve gotten worse.These workers are exposing themselves to radiation cleaning up a disaster TEPCO created.Is TEPCO not obliged to protect these workers’ health and provide them with proper working conditions?And what about the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare?What are they doing about the clear violations of the Labor Standards Act that have emerged from this survey?

Another important issue is the increased replacement of experienced workers familiar with nuclear technology by workers with no nuclear experience when the experienced workers reach their maximum allowable level of radiation exposure.As one worker put it during the roundtable, “In a high radiation zone, you are exposed to radiation whether you are undergoing training or not; in other words, there is no time for training.Rather than simply getting rid of experienced workers when they reach their maximum exposure levels, we should guarantee their employment during the five years it takes to reset their levels by using them to educate new workers and man conventional thermal power plants in order to preserve these human resources.That way, these workers could support operations until it was time they could return to the nuclear site.”I find it hard to contemplate returning workera who had reached their maximum radiation level back into a high radiation zone even after five years, but nevertheless, it would be good for such workers to be provided with proper medical examinations and the like during that time.In any case, the cleanup of Fukushima Dai-ichi is a job that will end in the far future, any number of decades down the line.Precisely because workers are irradiating themselves in order to complete this job for us, we must closely safeguard their wellbeing.Whether this clean-up process continues slowly and steadily or another major accident occurs is an affair that concerns not just Japan but every living being on the planet.So it is the duty of each and every one of us to guarantee a stable work environment for those who perform this job for us, so that they can work proudly, knowing that they are doing their part to stop our environment from becoming even more polluted than it already is.Let us all listen in good faith to the words of the workers, and be vigilant in our calls to make TEPCO and the Japanese government take proper responsibility toward them, to guarantee that each and every one of them will see their proper wages restored and their work environments improved; let us never let up in these demands until they are met.

Sumi Hasegawa
Faculty Lecturer, McGill University (Retired)

English translation: Brian Bergstrom
If you or your group would like to sign this letter, please send your name (as well as any relevant institutional or group affiliation) and location to Sumi Hasegawa atsumi.hasegawa@bell.net

Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

Hier gibt's die pdf-Version


The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 16 No. 1, April 22, 2013.


内閣総理大臣 安部晋三殿
厚生労働大臣 田村憲久殿
東京電力取締役会長 下河辺和彦殿
東京電力取締役社長 広瀬直己殿


東電福島第一の事故収束作業に従事する作業員の待遇が事故当初より賃金も下がり、宿舎などの条件も悪くなっている。 これについては『報道するラジオ』3月15日放送分の“

三つの報道が共通して指摘しているこの待遇改悪の原因は東電がコスト削減を理由に作業の発注を入札制にしたためだ。 仕事を取りたい元請会社が同じ仕事を今までより安く

分たちでしなければならず、送迎も無しになっていると言う(報ラジ)。 広野町は緊急時避難準備区域であったのが今年になって解除されたばかりで、元々の住民はまだ殆ど帰って
来ていない所で、いわき市に比べて線量もずっと高いという。 考えても貰いたい。 一日、高線量の所で激しい労働をして、帰って来ても、温かいねぎらいの言葉もなく、火の気も無
い家に入り、元々の住民が殆ど戻っていないような所で、まともな食材を買ったり、料理したりすることができるのだろうか? 風呂や食事の支度をするより寝た方が良いなどという日は
ないのだろうか? こんなところでコストの削減をするのは、作業員の健康管理などに何の心使いも無いことを端的に示している。 日当についても、事故前から福島第一で仕事して
ルポ)。 それどころか、報ラジでは東電が下請け作業員に対して行った最近のアンケートから、時給837円(東京都の最低賃金)を下回る人が5%いるという驚くべき 結果を挙げて
いる。 このアンケートは東電が下請け作業員の就労実態を把握するために定期的に行っているそうだが、東電が直接行っているのではない。 

り、記入する答えを指定されることもある(報ラジ)という。 正確な就労実態が反映されているとは到底思えないが、そのアンケートからさえ、自分が仕事している所が元請から数えて
15%もいたと言う(報ラジ)。 偽装請負と線量を知らされていないのは明らかに労基法違反である。 このアンケートが正しい方法で獲られていれば一体どんな実態が現れていたのだ
ろうか。 日当が下がっていることや危険手当が付いていない人が多いことに対して、雑誌『世界』が東電に問い合わせたところ、東電本社広報部は“作業環境や条件を考慮した工
説明した(世界ルポ)。 そして、アンケートに出てきた色々な問題については“発注者の立場から元請に対して下請け会社が作業員に適正な賃金、手当てを支給し、法律上必要と
される保護を行うよう要請する”と回答している(世界ルポ)。 しかし、このアンケートは初めて取られたものではない。今までも定期的に取られてきたのだ。事故後2年たった今も問題
は改善されていないどころか悪くなっている。 作業員は東電の引き起こした事故を処理するためにここで被曝しながら作業しているのです。 その作業員の健康を守り、適正な条件
で働いてもらうようにするのは東電の義務ではないのか。 また、明らかな労基法違反があることがアンケートに出ているのに厚生労働省は何をしているのか。

事故当初からの現場の仕事の流れを知悉している熟練作業員が線量限界に達して、現場を去り、代わりに原発での仕事経験がない人が増えているという問題も深刻だ。 “高線
量の現場では新人に仕事を教えている間にも被曝するから、教えている時間がない。 線量限界に達した熟練者を放置しないで、被曝線量のカウントがリセットされる5年後まで、
新人の教育や火力発電所などで仕事を保証し、人材を確保してほしい。 そうすれば5年後にまた福島第一の現場に戻る時まで技術を維持できる”(世界座談)という現場の作業
員ならではの提言もある。 線量限界に達した人をまた5年後に現場に戻すには忍びない気もするが、その5年の間にしっかりと健康診断などをしてもらうということは出来ると思う。 と

被曝しながら作業してくれる人達がいるからこそ、辛うじて現状を維持しているのだ。 ここがこれから大きな事故もなく、少しずつでも収束に向かって進めるかどうかは日本だけでなく、
この地球に住むもの全てに関わる問題だと思う。 海も空も続いているのだから。 したがって、そこで働く作業員に心身ともに安定した環境を整え、地球環境のこれ以上の悪化を自
分たちが食い止めているという誇りを持って仕事できるよう支えるのは私たち一人一人が負うべき義務だと思う。 作業員の発信に真摯に耳を傾け、東京電力と日本政府が責任を

長谷川澄  退職マギル大学専任講師 、モントリオール、カナダ

このアピールの賛同人になっていただける方は以下のメールアドレスにご連絡ください。 個人としてお名前を掲載する時は住所(国名も)と名前を、所属団体名と名前を掲載する場
合は団体の所在国、市まで(例えば、“カナダ、モントリオール、マギル大学”のように)をお送りください。このアピールは日本語と英語と仏語 で出しますので、どの言語の下にお名前を

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 16 No. 1, April 22, 2013.

Hier zur pdf-Datei.





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