Japan’s Nuclear Power Plant Workers, Exposed to Radiation, Hidden from Sight

Posted: September 5, 2011 in Dangerous Nuclear Industry Work Ethics
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In Japan, nuclear power plant workers are exposed to radiation without it known to the public.  Kenji Higuchi (樋口健二) is a photographer in Japan, acclaimed for his work of documenting the effects of industrial pollution and the exploitation of nuclear power plant workers.  This documentary film was released by Channel 4 (UK) in 1995. Original Japanese title: 隠された被爆労働:日本の原発労働者. English subtitles. Sadly, it remains relevant.

How does it relate to our survival in Japan? Realising that nuclear power plant maintenance is performed by “burakumin” – Japanese intouchables – and the poorest homeless, contracted for the day under the supervision of the “yakuza” – Japanese mafia and far right extremists – help get a more realistic picture of the kind of work which is currently undertaken at Fukushima. It explains the unending mistakes and the lack of progress in stabilizing the situation over there (at one point, cooling had stopped because there was a leak in a hose!). Furthermore, it gives us insight as what to expect for the future of Fukushima. As several nuclear power plants are being stopped for maintenance, we can think of the sacrificed men who carry them out, and we can be concern that such untrained workers taken from the streets are empowered with this kind of critical work (when issues arise – and there is a history of them in Japan). Keep away from any nuclear plant in Japan as much as you can – the only places which are more than 160 km from them are the northeastern top of Hokkaido and the island of Okinawa.


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