Japan may have to change decontamination efforts after labor shortages

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Fukushima Decontamination
The Asahi Shimbun has published a serious of articles detailing some of the lax procedures and oversight which have allowed radioactive debris to be dumped into the environment instead of being properly stored. The Asahi Shimbun has also reported on the government’s slow response to their findings during their investigative report.

Decontamination efforts in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are facing serious problems, most of which seem to be of their own creation.  In reality, the decontamination efforts to date have been relatively ineffective, and as some argue, a complete waste of tax funds.

This week, according to the Fukushima Labor Bureau, only 10% of some 1,800 jobs offered for decontamination work were filled.  The labor ministry attributes the low numbers to fears over radiation exposure and low pay.

“Many people expect high wages for decontamination work, because of worries about radiation exposure,” says Shunichi Hirotani, an official at the “Hello Work” public job placement center for the northern part of the prefecture.

“In reality, wages for the work are almost the same as those for regular construction civil engineering work,” Hirotani says.

One of the root problems is the way that contracts are awarded to general contractors, who then break up each area into zones and subcontract the work out to small to mid-size companies.

“The decontamination work cannot last,” an official of a local contractor told the JiJi Press.

Source: JiJi Press

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