Tell Japan to End Mob Exploitation of Homeless Workers in Fukushima Cleanup

  • by: Susan V
  • recipient: Japan Minister of Environment

Homeless Japanese are being exploited by subcontractors involved in the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. And some of those subcontractors are Japanese mobsters.

Organized crime has infiltrated a network of decontamination subcontractors headed by Obayashi Corp and has gone from train station to train station picking up the homeless to do this dirty and dangerous work. In addition to exposing these ill-prepared and unprotected workers to deadly radiation, mobsters are paying them less than minimum wage and then deducting room and board from their pay, according to an investigation by Reuters. One homeless worker reported making only $10 after a month of work at the contaminated site.

In addition to 20 major companies contracted to do the cleanup, there are an unknown number of improperly regulated subcontractors, creating a climate ripe for this kind of inhumane exploitation of the homeless. Even worse, says Reuters, is that many of these subcontractors aren’t even legally certified to handle nuclear waste cleanup.

Tell Japan it has to do better, and it must stop allowing the homeless to be exploited in the Fukushima cleanup.

We, the undersigned, say Japan’s homeless workers must be properly paid and protected if they are hired to clean up radioactive waste.

In addition to this outrageous exploitation of homeless workers, Japan’s Ministry of Environment has failed to ensure that Fukushima cleanup contractors and subcontractors are properly certified and regulated, according to a report by Reuters

In addition to creating further risk to Japan and the rest of the world due to this negligence, it is unconscionable for the Ministry to allow this exploitation of the homeless.

Even though Reuters reports that Obayashi is working on the problem and may not have been aware of the illegal activities going on among its subcontractors, they and the government are certainly aware now, and they should insist on zero tolerance for the exploitation of the homeless, as well as the lack of certification and regulation of subcontractors involved.

We request that Japan act immediately to put an end to this further risk to the environment and exploitation of its homeless population.

Thanks for your time.

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