Pay Nuclear Site Cleanup Workers Fair Wages

Target: Kazuhiko Shimokobe, Tokyo Electric Power Company Chairman

Goal: Secure minimum wages and better safety equipment for cleanup workers at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site

After the Fukushima nuclear meltdown disaster in 2011, the Japanese government set up the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund and took over majority stock of the company. Their goal was to ensure a safe and effective cleanup and dismantling of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, while allowing much of the electric service to Japanese citizens to continue.

Due to lack of applicants, the Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO) has been recruiting homeless Japanese to clean up the disaster. Moreover, TEPCO has been paying those most desperate for a job less than minimum wage for risking their lives. In order to have enough workers, the cleanup workers’ wages are given to the Yakuza, Japan’s notorious organized crime syndicate, and other private ‘headhunters’ in exchange for drumming up employees.

In the end, Japanese taxpayer money is going to the Yakuza and homeless Japanese workers are given a pittance while not even being given proper protective equipment like radiation meters.

Taking over the plant does not justify an ‘any means necessary’ approach to the cleanup. The Japanese government’s role as owner of TEPCO and as a democratic government carries with it a duty to provide a fair wage to the Fukushima cleanup crew and to provide basic safety equipment.

Sign this petition to urge the Chairman of TEPCO to provide the cleanup crews of Fukushima with adequate wages and safety equipment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear TEPCO Chairman Kazuhiko Shimokobe,

The practice of paying homeless Japanese in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant cleanup crew less than minimum wage must end. By relying on the Yakuza and other headhunters, the Japanese government has made its taxpayers contribute to organized crime. In the process, you are preying on a desperate and marginalized group of people who should at the very least receive minimum wage for undertaking this dangerous task. Yet, not only is their pay going to the Yakuza, their lives are further endangered by the lack of radiation meters.

You have been given a difficult task in leading the cleanup and dismantling of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. However, the difficulty of the task is no excuse for violating your workers’ right to a fair wage and failing to protect them. The Japanese government’s control over TEPCO and the cleanup process means it should treat its workers and citizens fairly and not risk their health any more than necessary.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Comessu via Wikimedia Commons

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