A brief summary
The nuclear cleanup workers at Fukushima Dai-ichi are inexperienced day laborers gathered from all over Japan, including minors who are 18 to 19. The subcontractor system below TEPCO is multi-layered, involving seven subcontractors in this case. They are given “supposedly blank” resumes with work experience already filled out. After a one-day seminar on radiation, some workers are obviously anxious. They are told by one of the subcontractors that the exposure dose isn’t cumulative and even if they are exposed to 1 mSv of radiation a day, it will be halved daily, reaching zero in 8 days.
In February 2012, Tetsuya Hayashi applied for a job repairing the covering for the reactor 3 building. He was asked to begin work in April 2012. However, the work was postponed, and he was told in early June that he could begin work immediately doing the checkout and checkin of equipments as well as conducting a radiation survey. He was asked to fill out a resume which was pre-filled with a falsified work experience. He was told that his actual work was going to involve changing the agitator inside a decontaminating machine by Areva, a French company, in a high radiation area. He was told that APD (alarm pocket dosimeter) was going to be set for 6 to 9 mSv and 5 alarms would mean 9 mSv. He will switch with someone else after 3 alarms, which means the actual work time will be 5 to 10 minutes. He asked them about the high radiation level, and he was told it was fine because 1 mSv exposure would be halved daily, becoming zero in 8 days. He was told that everyone was exposed to about that much radiation.
He and other workers complained, and they were given a different work. On June 19, 2012, he removed glass pieces so that a new pipe can be put into the reactor building. He complained to his immediate supervisor about the discrepancy in job description. After work he was called to one of the subcontractors and reprimanded for complaining to a higher-level subcontractor without going through the appropriate channel. He was unfairly dismissed. There were 4 to 5 layers of subcontractors between him and the actual employer, and kickbacks were taken out of his wages.
Introductory statement by the former clean-up worker, Tetsuya Hayashi:
On August 24, I, together with “Haken Union,” sent a written proposal to TEPCO, which is undertaking the cleanup work at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (F1), and its seven subcontractors simultaneously. I worked at F1 as a nuclear worker since this June, participating in part of the clean-up operation. What I witnessed was the reality of various acts of dishonesty and kickbacks conducted in the multi-layer subcontracting system. A group of lay people with no knowledge or experience of working with radiation, including minors ages 18 to 19, were sent in to the work site without adequate training and with a false statement of work experience and low wages.
The clean-up work at Fukushima Dai-chi will continue for many tens of years from now on. Without workers on site, there will be no end to the accident. Nevertheless, the disposable nature of the scheme involving the on-site clean-up workers is too absurd and careless. Who is protecting the rights of the workers? If we don’t change that now, children who will be born from now on will have to deal with the hotbed of this injustice. This is a videotaped record of the proof of injustice over a two-month period. I will file a complaint with my real name, Tetsuya Hayashi, hoping for an end to the accident as early as possible.