Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fukushima nuclear debacle updates - January 4 , 2014 - Completely deficient of Souls Japan and Tepco - note Tepco attempts to fleece employes out of relocation funds ......This follows pimping of the homeless to do deadly Fukushima clean up work - crimal syndicates have their hands in this blood pie as well ( nothing to see here folks , move along ) , sadly the homeless don't even se their full pay ( which is only minimum wage ) as two thirds is skimmed off - and some of the homeles actually wind up in debt through the arrangement ( which is why I call this pimping the homeless ) !

Russia Just Says "Nyet" To Japan's Radioactive Exports

Tyler Durden's picture

While Japanese imports are surging on the back of an ever-depreciating currency and ever-appreciating cost of energy, it would appear the enterprising Easterners have come up with a solution to two problems - exports and radiation. As RT reportsmore than 130 "contaminated" used cars from Japan were denied access to Russia last year. The consumer watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor is also closely monitoring deliveries of fish.

A customs officer holds up a device used for measuring radiation levels, while standing in front of vehicles delivered from Japan, in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok.


Strict control of all cargo, arriving from Japan, will continue in 2014 as well, Rospotrebnadzor said on its website.
In 2013, Russia has banned 165 batches of contaminated goods from entering the country. There were mainly used cars – 132, and spare parts for vehicles – 33,” the statement said.

Deliveries of fish coming from Japan and those caught in the Pacific Ocean are also being monitored, the agency said.

Particular attention is paid to this issue in Russia’s Far East, where radiation control of fish is being wieldy implemented, including the distribution chain,” Rospotrebnadzor said.

The supply of Japanese fish to Russia is currently allowed only under a special declaration that confirms the presence of radioactive substances in the products is within safety standards established by the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

It seems the world is also losing interest in one of Japan's other major exports - Blue-Fin Tuna (as prices have dropped 95% from last year!)
Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi Kimura paid 7.36m yen (£43,000) for a 230kg (507lb) bluefin tuna in the year's celebratory first auction at Tokyo's Tsukiji market on Sunday –just 5% of what he paid a year earlier despite signs that the species is in serious decline.


There were 1,729 tuna sold in Sunday's first auction for 2014, according to the city government,down from 2,419 last year. The 32,000 yen ($305) per kilogram paid for the top fish this year compares with 700,000 yen per kilogram last year.

‘Duct tape, wire nets’ were used to mend Fukushima water tanks - worker

Published time: January 04, 2014 19:47
AFP Photo / Kimmasa Mayama
AFP Photo / Kimmasa Mayama
As TEPCO began preparations for the cleaning of the drainage system with tons of leaked radioactive water at the Fukushima power plant,a former employee reveals the reason for so many leaks was cost cutting measures such as using duct tape,Asahi reported.
Yoshitatsu Uechi, auto mechanic and tour-bus driver, worked at the devastated nuclear power plant between July 2 and Dec. 6, 2012, according to Asahi Shimbun report. He was one of the 17 workers from Okinawa Prefecture sent to work at the crippled nuclear plant in 2012 to create new places to store contaminated water.

The earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The catastrophe caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the facility, leading to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

The water used to cool the reactors has been leaking into the soil and contaminating the ground water on the premises of the nuclear facility, with some escaping into the Pacific Ocean.

The 48 year old Japanese man said that workers were sent to various places in Fukushima, including an area called H3 with high radiation levels.

In one of those cases in October 2012, Uechi was given a task to cover five or six storage tanks without lids in the “E” area close to H3 as it was raining, the Japanese paper reported. When he climbed to the top of the 10-meter-high tank Uechi found white adhesive tape covering an opening of about 30 centimeters. After using a blade to remove the tape he applied a sealing agent on the opening and fit a steel lid fastening it with bolts. According to instructions he was to use four bolts, though the lid had eight bolt holes.

According to the employee, his colleagues later told him that the use of adhesive tape was a usual practice to deal with the problem of sealing in radioactive water.

“I couldn’t believe that such slipshod work was being done, even if it was part of stopgap measures,”Uechi told The Asahi Shimbun.

Among other makeshift cost-cutting measures was the use of second-hand materials. Uechi also said that wire nets were used instead of reinforcing bars during the placement of concrete for storage tank foundations. In addition, waterproof sheets were applied along the joints inside flange-type cylindrical tanks to save on the sealing agent used to join metal sheets of the storage tanks. Rain and snow had washed away the anti-corrosive agent applied around clamping bolts, reducing the sealing effect, Uechi added. According to the Fukushima worker, many of the tanks were later found to be leaking contaminated water.

On Saturday, workers at Fukushima Daiichi began preparations for cleaning the plant’s drainage system that contains more than 20,000 tons of water with high levels of radioactive substances, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant’s operator responsible for the clean-up.

In August, TEPCO detected 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium per liter in the water located in underground passages which is leaking into the groundwater through cracks in the drainage tunnels. The normal level is estimated at 150 becquerels of cesium per liter, according to EU.

The workers are to set up the special equipment to freeze the ground around the reactors, according to TEPCO. The plan includes plunging tubes carrying a coolant liquid deep into the ground that would freeze the ground solid so that no groundwater could pass through it.

Fallout researcher Christina Consolo told RT that the contaminated water issue at the plant is a very difficult problem to solve.

“The water build-up is an extraordinarily difficult problem in and of itself, and as anyone with a leaky basement knows, water always 'finds a way.’

She added that as “the site has been propped up with duct tape and a kick-stand for over two years. Many of their 'fixes' are only temporary, as there are so many issues to address, and cost always seems to be an enormous factor in what gets implemented and what doesn't.”

Ex SKF.....


TEPCO Apologizes to #Fukushima I NPP Subcontractors and Explains, "Additional Risk Benefit of 10,000 Yen (US$96) a Day Doesn't Mean Additional Risk Benefit of 10,000 Yen a Day"

Uh... what does that mean, you may ask?

And why is TEPCO apologizing? Because, apparently, TEPCO's announcement that the company would double the risk benefit for the workers hired by the subcontractors to work at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant from 10,000 yen a day to 20,000 yen a day has caused anxiety and confusion among TEPCO's primary contractors and subcontractors.

Why are TEPCO's primary contractors (1st tier) and subcontractors (and subcontractors of the subcontractors... to the nth degree) anxious and confused?Because the workers they hire now knows how much TEPCO is paying the primary contractors and can compare it to what they actually receive.

The article below is by Mainichi English on January 5, 2014, translated from theJapanese article on the previous day. The title, "TEPCO allows contractors to dip into 'labor fund' increase", is very unclear.

The original Japanese title for the article is:

which I started to translate (till I found Mainichi's own English translation) as:
TEPCO allows "taking a cut" of the daily wages for the workers at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, TEPCO's letter to the prime contractors reveals

It's about "skimming", as Reuters' article on December 19, 2013 made abundantly clear.

From Mainichi English (1/5/2014; emphasis is mine):
TEPCO allows contractors to dip into 'labor fund' increase

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), after announcing last November that "labor funds" would be increased for contract work on the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, told contractors that not all the money had to go to wage increases, effectively reneging on its earlier announcement, it has been learned.

When contracting out work, in addition to base money for wages, TEPCO sets aside extra funds to pay workers at the plant based on radiation exposure and the type of work they do. However, until a Nov. 8 announcement the company had not revealed exact numbers, saying that doing so would "affect future contracts and bids." This was criticized as encouraging contractors and subcontractors to dip into the labor funds.

When TEPCO announced "emergency safety measures" for the Fukushima plant on Nov. 8 last year, it revealed that until then it had been setting aside 10,000 yen of these extra funds per worker. In order to improve workers' wages, however, the utility said it would increase this amount by another 10,000 yen per day starting with work contracted the following month. This was also clearly indicated in documents the company distributed to contractors.

TEPCO president Naomi Hirose said at a press conference, "I ask that prime contractors thoroughly enact (wage improvements). Workers will be aware of the 10,000 yen increase, so we ask that contractors follow through."

However, on Nov. 29, TEPCO sent a message to its contractors in the name of the chief of its supplies division. The message concerned the Nov. 8 announcement, and apologized that "the measure had not been understood correctly, bringing confusion to our business partners." It read that the increase of 10,000 yen was "for making efforts to improve workers' wages" but "does not mean that the amount (paid to workers) will be increased by 10,000 yen."

A representative of TEPCO's PR department told the Mainichi Shimbun, "The wages paid to workers are decided in contracts made between workers and subcontractors, so we explained that the labor funds we set and the actual wages paid to workers are different." Furthermore, the PR official said the increase of 10,000 to 20,000 yen in daily extra labor funds was "introduced as a representative case, but the actual amount could be lower." The official would not discuss the actual amount of increases made because it was "a contract matter."

The Nov. 8 announcement had been reported as a "doubling" of payments to workers by a local paper. One worker who works at the Fukushima plant said, "Some subcontractors have properly increased wages and others haven't, creating a stronger feeling of unfairness amongst those on-site. These TEPCO documents could lower the morale of the workers."

To be fair, TEPCO's President Naomi Hirose did say in the November 8, 2013 press conference that adding 10,000 yen to the existing 10,000 yen daily risk benefit would not mean all workers hired by the subcontractors would now receive 10,000 yen more per day. He emphasized that TEPCO would pay the prime contractors (top-tier subcontractors) additional 10,000 yen per day per worker. How the money was to be distributed down the subcontracting pyramid would not be TEPCO's responsibility but the prime contractors' and subcontractors' responsibility, Hirose said.

"Sunny", one of the workers who have been tweeting from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, is angrily calling the contractors unethical in his tweet:

President of the electric power company [TEPCO] says he is paying more, but the workers at the bottom [of the subcontracting pyramid] are not receiving it. Taxpayers' money is being used [to restore the plant] but the money to the workers disappear because of "circumstances at the companies". This is beyond the level of being problematic; it is the corporate ethics problem. Those companies that still won't pay the workers should be screened out.

Mainichi's original Japanese article has a diagram that shows how the skimming is done (English labels are by me):

From what I sometimes hear, though, this is what actually happens, in some cases: "Oh you want more risk benefit? OK, here you are. Oh by the way your regular pay will be reduced."

According to anecdotal stories in the press in the past, there are workers at the plant with no risk benefit; the benefit has been all skimmed off by the layers of subcontractors before it reaches the workers.

When this additional 10,000 yen risk benefit was announced in November last year, both "Sunny" and "Happy" (who is leaving the plant) were hoping that the national government, who claims to be "in charge" of restoring the plant, would make this additional money go directly to all contract workers. Well that didn't happen, and is not likely to happen.

Just like in late March 2011, when it comes to treating the workers who work at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, it is a private company's problem, not the government's problem, whether it is under DPJ or LDP. So sorry to hear that the workers have little to eat and drink at the plant, but no we're not going to do anything because it is TEPCO's problem, said an elite career bureaucrat at Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. My jaw dropped when I watched him say so in the press conference.


TEPCO Demands Its Own Employees to Return the Nuclear Accident Compensation Money, Mainichi Shinbun Says

This has got to be a new low for TEPCO, though TEPCO continues to surprise.

From Mainichi Shinbun (1/4/2014; part):
福島原発事故避難:東電 社員に賠償金返還を要求

TEPCO demands employees who were displaced by Fukushima I NPP accident to return [part of] the compensation money


It has been revealed by people concerned that since last spring TEPCO has been demanding its employees who have been displaced by the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident to practically return the compensation money of several million yen [tens of thousands of US dollars] to over 10 million yen [over US$100,000] that they each received. ... Because of this demand to return money, young TEPCO employees in their 20s are quitting the job in droves, which could jeopardize the work to restore the plant.

... しかし、ある男性社員は、2012年秋に賠償を打ち切られた。「立ち入り制限のない区域の賃貸住宅に転居した11年夏の時点で避難は終了したとみなす」というのが理由だ。転居前も賃貸住宅に住んでいたのだから、別の賃貸住宅に引っ越した段階で避難は終了した、という。しかし、社員以外なら引っ越しを伴う以上、賠償は打ち切られない。

One male employee had his compensation cut off in fall of 2012. The reason was that "he moved to a rental house in the area with no entry restriction in summer of 2011, at which time the evacuation due to the accident is considered by TEPCO to have been over." [In TEPCO's logic,] since he had lived in a rental house before the move, the evacuation was over when he moved to another rental house. However, compensations for people who are not TEPCO employees are not cut off when they relocate.


What surprised him was a document he received last spring from TEPCO's "Fukushima Nuclear Compensation Counseling Office" which is in charge of compensation. The title of the document said "Adjustment that we would humbly deduct [from future payment]", and the body text said "It has been confirmed that the amount that we have already paid you and the amount that has been correctly computed differ," and the difference amounts to several million yen. It looks TEPCO has decided that several million yen that he received after he moved (summer of 2011) was "in excess".


The employee called the Counseling Office and asked what it meant by "deduct". The answer was that the amount he received in excess would be offset by the future payment. Since he has no future payment coming, as the compensation was cut off, this is practically a demand for the return of money. He further asked, "Are you telling me to return right now?" The answer was "We haven't decided how to have the money returned."


The man asked the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center for mediation of settlement in 2013. The Center rejected TEPCO's claim and considered the evacuation was still ongoing for the man and threw out the obligation to return the compensation money. The Center's settlement offer would have TEPCO to pay additional several million yen to the man, but TEPCO refused the offer.


From testimony from multiple sources, there are at least 15 employees who are asked to return the money, and the total exceeds 100 million yen [US$1 million]. One employee told Mainichi that "there are about 100 employees whose compensations have been cut off. Most of them have been asked to return the money."


In Fukushima Prefecture in October [last year], TEPCO held an informational meeting between the top management and the employees. Mainichi Shinbun obtained the audio data of the meeting. The employees angrily told the management, "Everyone is pissed that they are required to pay back the money that was transferred [to their bank accounts]." The management said they would investigate, but there has been no change.

100 million yen. A pittance for TEPCO. Just claw back the retirement money from the then-chairman Katsumata and then-president Shimizu. But instead, they want to collect from its own employees who have been working in the irradiated, wrecked nuclear power plant.
Also from Mainichi (1/4/2014; part):

Demand to return the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident compensation money: "We worked in the high radiation[, and we get this]"


One of the male employees who have been asked by TEPCO to return the compensation money worked under the then-plant manager Masao Yoshida right after the start of the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident to restore the plant. He worked in the high radiation environment, shaking [with fear of high radiation]. But the company's treatment is cold. Losing hope, young employees quit, one after another. Morale has degraded significantly, and dark clouds are hanging over the decommission work.


The employee is from outside Fukushima Prefecture. After he joined TEPCO, he has spent long years in Fukushima I and II, and continued his work with pride. He has been active in the local community, and says "This is my home."


"I can't ruin my home any further." On March 12, 2011 when the Reactor 1 building exploded, he and his colleagues forced their shaking legs to move and worked. After work, they returned to the anti-seismic building located about 300 meters from Reactor 1, and found the plant manager Yoshida shouting with anger in the teleconference with the TEPCO headquarter [in Tokyo]. But Yoshida was kind to the local employees. He says he was cheered by Yoshida a number of times. "You are all doing great," Yoshida would say.


He was doing the hard work which he felt worthwhile. Then a letter arrived last spring. It said [TEPCO] wanted the return of part of the compensation money, and instructed that he sign the enclosed agreement and send back. "I can't believe it." No matter how many times he read the letter, it was an "invoice" the company sent to him. He was so mortified he cried. He couldn't sleep for days. His colleagues also received the same letter. They feel dark and gloomy at the site, and morale has taken the nosedive.


The monthly salary of the employees was cut by 20% after the start of the accident to begin with. On top of it, the cut off of compensation money (2012) and request for the return of the compensation money (2013 spring) followed. Already, a dozen people, mostly young people in their 20s, left the company. They include people who worked with him to restore the plant. "We all felt responsible, that 'We have caused trouble because of the nuclear power plant we've been operating'. We've worked, clenching our teeth." But they were discouraged by TEPCO's treatment. The worker couldn't say "Don't give up yet" to his colleague who told him he was leaving.


"You did all you could in the high radiation. We will take good care of you." That's what Yoshida told him. "If Mr. Yoshida were still alive, it may not have been this way," he sometimes wonders. "I don't feel like I can go on, but I'll do my best for my home." He hangs on, and goes to work in his TEPCO uniform.
The work uniform of this employee. He said to Mainichi, "After the accident, I can't dry it outside after the wash, for the fear of how the neighbors may think."

Here we go again, sadly. Instead of directing anger to the powerful (whether it is the national government or a large corporation like TEPCO), we pick a far easier target - like a TEPCO employee who has been working at the wrecked plant with the sense of responsibility to his adopted "home".

From my 2/29/2012 post, Dr. Jun Shigemura, psychiatrist at National Defence Medical College who treated the workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel:
Many come from the area around the plant, the tsunami washed away their homes, their families had to evacuate. The workers have lost their homes, their loved ones are far away and the public blames them, because they work for TEPCO. Many think that TEPCO is responsible for the catastrophe. The workers weren't seen as heroes as they were in Europe. One time, somebody donated fresh vegetables for the workers, because TEPCO at that point wasn't able to provide fresh food inside the evacuation zone. But the donation was made anonymously, because those who gave it didn't want to be caught helping TEPCO workers.

I am currently treating a man in his early forties. He had a house on the coast close to Daiichi that was destroyed by the tsunami. That's when he lost his 7-year-old son. The man had to flee and he tried to rent an apartment somewhere else. But the landlord rejected him because he works for TEPCO. When he finally found a flat the neighbors posted a paper on his door: TEPCO workers get out.



(UPDATED) Reuters Special Report: Japan's Homeless Recruited for Murky Fukushima Clean-Up

(UPDATE 12/30/2013) It was almost amusing to view a tweet from someone apparently in Fukushima Prefecture quoting my tweet (in Japanese) about the Reuters article below, who said what a terrible translation my tweet was (probably without even seeing the English article). What part was terrible for this person? That there were 733 companies contracting decon work in Fukushima from the Ministry of the Environment, apparently. Go figure.


Remember the State Secrecy Protection Law that passed on a Friday in November in Japan? One of my twitter followers commented, "Good timing. No one will remember it on Monday."

Sure enough, the Japanese national media almost completely dropped their coverage the next Monday. So much for the citizens' right to know, and freedom of the press that they harped about when the Upper House was debating the bill.

They said, almost all of them, "If the law passes, the coverage of the Fukushima nuclear accident will be suppressed by the government."

Well the Japanese media doesn't need the secrecy law to stop writing about the nuclear accident, as no one in the Japanese national media ever writes about what the US Reuters just wrote about.

Reuters reports that Japan's homeless continue to be recruited to work in the decontamination jobs in Fukushima Prefecture, and some of them are forced to go into debt by doing so. Five companies in the Ministry of the Environment registry for decontamination jobs cannot even be identified, says Reuters.

Taxpayers' money at work, and no report, no naming names in the Japanese media.

From Reuters (12/29/2013; part, emphasis is mine):
Special Report: Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up

By Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski

(Reuters) - Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.

He isn't a social worker. He's a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan's nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.

"This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day," Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold.

It's also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.

Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami leveled villages across Japan's northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.

In January, October and November, Japanese gangsters were arrested on charges of infiltrating construction giant Obayashi Corp's network of decontamination subcontractors and illegally sending workers to the government-funded project.

In the October case, homeless men were rounded up at Sendai's train station by Sasa, then put to work clearing radioactive soil and debris in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage, according to police and accounts of those involved. The men reported up through a chain of three other companies to Obayashi, Japan's second-largest construction company.

Obayashi, which is one of more than 20 major contractors involved in government-funded radiation removal projects, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the spate of arrests has shown that members of Japan's three largest criminal syndicates - Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai - had set up black-market recruiting agencies under Obayashi.



Part of the problem in monitoring taxpayer money in Fukushima is the sheer number of companies involved in decontamination, extending from the major contractors at the top to tiny subcontractors many layers below them. The total number has not been announced. But in the 10 most contaminated towns and a highway that runs north past the gates of the wrecked plant in Fukushima, Reuters found 733 companies were performing work for the Ministry of Environment, according to partial contract terms released by the ministry in August under Japan's information disclosure law.

Reuters found 56 subcontractors listed on environment ministry contracts worth a total of $2.5 billion in the most radiated areas of Fukushimathat would have been barred from traditional public works because they had not been vetted by the construction ministry.

The 2011 law that regulates decontamination put control under the environment ministry, the largest spending program ever managed by the 10-year-old agency. The same law also effectively loosened controls on bidders, making it possible for firms to win radiation removal contracts without the basic disclosure and certification required for participating in public works such as road construction.

Reuters also found five firms working for the Ministry of Environment that could not be identified. They had no construction ministry registration, no listed phone number or website, and Reuters could not find a basic corporate registration disclosing ownership. There was also no record of the firms in the database of Japan's largest credit research firm, Teikoku Databank.

"As a general matter, in cases like this, we would have to start by looking at whether a company like this is real," said Shigenobu Abe, a researcher at Teikoku Databank. "After that, it would be necessary to look at whether this is an active company and at the background of its executive and directors."

Responsibility for monitoring the hiring, safety records and suitability of hundreds of small firms involved in Fukushima's decontamination rests with the top contractors, including Kajima Corp, Taisei Corp and Shimizu Corp, officials said.

"In reality, major contractors manage each work site," said Hide Motonaga, deputy director of the radiation clean-up division of the environment ministry.

But, as a practical matter, many of the construction companies involved in the clean-up say it is impossible to monitor what is happening on the ground because of the multiple layers of contracts for each job that keep the top contractors removed from those doing the work.

"If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need," said Yukio Suganuma, president of Aisogo Service, a construction company that was hired in 2012 to clean up radioactive fallout from streets in the town of Tamura.

Seiji Sasa, 67, a broad-shouldered former wrestling promoter, was photographed by undercover police recruiting homeless men at the Sendai train station to work in the nuclear cleanup. The workers were then handed off through a chain of companies reporting up to Obayashi, as part of a $1.4 million contract to decontaminate roads in Fukushima, police say.

"I don't ask questions; that's not my job," Sasa said in an interview with Reuters. "I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That's it. I don't get involved in what happens after that."

Only a third of the money allocated for wages by Obayashi's top contractor made it to the workers Sasa had found. The rest was skimmed by middlemen, police say. After deductions for food and lodging, that left workers with an hourly rate of about $6, just below the minimum wage equal to about $6.50 per hour in Fukushima, according to wage data provided by police. Some of the homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say.

Sasa was arrested in November and released without being charged. Police were after his client, Mitsunori Nishimura, a local Inagawa-kai gangster. Nishimura housed workers in cramped dorms on the edge of Sendai and skimmed an estimated $10,000 of public funding intended for their wages each month, police say.


In Fukushima, Shuto has faced at least two claims with local labor regulators over unpaid wages, according to Kaneda. In a separate case, a 55-year-old homeless man reported being paid the equivalent of $10 for a full month of work at Shuto. The worker's paystub, reviewed by Reuters, showed charges for food, accommodation and laundry were docked from his monthly pay equivalent to about $1,500, leaving him with $10 at the end of the August.

The man turned up broke and homeless at Sendai Station in October after working for Shuto, but disappeared soon afterwards, according to Yasuhiro Aoki, a Baptist pastor and homeless advocate.

Kaneda confirmed the man had worked for her but said she treats her workers fairly. She said Shuto Kogyo pays workers at least $80 for a day's work while docking the equivalent of $35 for food. Many of her workers end up borrowing from her to make ends meet, she said. One of them had owed her $20,000 before beginning work in Fukushima, she says. The balance has come down recently, but then he borrowed another $2,000 for the year-end holidays.

"He will never be able to pay me back," she said.

The problem of workers running themselves into debt is widespread. "Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages," said Aoki, the pastor. "Then at the end of the month, they're left with no pay at all."

Shizuya Nishiyama, 57, says he briefly worked for Shuto clearing rubble. He now sleeps on a cardboard box in Sendai Station. He says he left after a dispute over wages, one of several he has had with construction firms, including two handling decontamination jobs.

Nishiyama's first employer in Sendai offered him $90 a day for his first job clearing tsunami debris. But he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work. On those days, though, he would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt.

"We're an easy target for recruiters," Nishiyama said. "We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and we're easy to spot. They say to us, are you looking for work? Are you hungry? And if we haven't eaten, they offer to find us a job."

(Full article at the link)

Shuto, in the article, is a contractor who hires and sends workers to Fukushima. Ms. Kaneda, who generously lends money to workers to make ends meet after her firm deducts a ton of money from their pay, was arrested in 2009 for charging illegally high interest rates on loans to pensioners, says Reuters.

Most people in Japan continue to look toward the horizon longingly where the beautiful nuclear-free future is supposed to lie, while pretending not to know the not-so-pleasant details of the nuclear accident.
 Energy News.....

Latest Headlines:

New Journal Article: Fukushima may have already released 90 quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 — Much more than Chernobyl’s 70 quadrillion becquerels

NPR and California Department of Public Health appear on document with nuclear-related U.S. entities ‘working together’ with Tepco to ‘disseminate’ Fukushima-related information — CDHP Yesterday: West Coast will get NO radioactive contamination from Fukushima (PHOTO)

Radiation Expert: It’s terrifying how Pacific ecosystem has collapsed since Fukushima — Plutonium and uranium suspected of spreading through food chain (VIDEO)

Hot spots at 1,400% baseline radiation levels on San Francisco-area coast — State: It’s “naturally occurring materials not radioactivity associated with Fukushima” — Expert: Don’t let babies or kids inhale or eat the sand

Agency: Dead Conjoined Baby Gray Whales found on West Coast of N. America — Could be first ever recorded — 2 heads and 2 tails, joined in middle (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

CBS: “Health officials are investigating radiation levels” along coast near San Francisco after finding “higher than typical readings” — UC Berkeley Professor: “Absolutely no correlation” with nuclear disaster; Compares eating banana to drinking water from Fukushima plant (VIDEO)

Secrecy agreement between Fukushima and IAEA revealed by Tokyo newspaper — They hid health effects in Chernobyl… same thing could happen to Fukushima”

Nuclear Chemistry Expert: Steam at Fukushima reactor could be from corium burning through containment into groundwater

Harvard Website: Media blindly reports Tepco’s false radiation levels, says Fukushima official; Press won’t report truth — “It’s still scary” in Tokyo, people move away due to hotspots; “Environment abruptly changed for half of Japan” (VIDEO)

Nuclear Journal on ‘Fukushima Plutonium Effect’: Melting MOX fuel may lead to neutron flux blow-up — ‘Surprisingly’ there’s absolutely no reference data in any scientific literature

L.A. Times: Alarming West Coast sardine crash likely radiating through ecosystem — Experts warn marine mammals and seabirds are starving, may suffer for years to come — Boats return without a single fish — Monterey Bay: Hard to resist idea that humpback whales are trying to tell us something

TV: “Massive radioactivity release” at Fukushima going on for almost 3 years now; Visible steam “just the tip of the iceberg” — NHK: Containment vessels are ‘broken’ (VIDEOS)

“We see radiation from Fukushima in soils in Southern California, especially our desert regions” — High concentrations in seaweed prevented harvest this year — Also found in cattle and chicken feed (AUDIO)

ABC News: Gov’t, scientists ‘baffled’ over white spots on cows around Fukushima plant — Farmer: No one knows what they are, I think it’s from radiation; “Our town’s contaminated like Chernobyl… We were just thrown away like trash” — Officials order the animals to be slaughtered (VIDEOS)

Nuclear Engineer: Radioactive plumes always coming out of Fukushima Unit 3 — “Water is not getting to hotspots… it’s because of melted core” — Fission may be taking place underneath reactor (AUDIO)

Nuclear Expert: Fukushima reactor cores melted right down into the ground — That radioactive material is getting washed out into Pacific Ocean (AUDIO)

BBC Interview: “News about Fukushima… keeps getting worse” — Japan Professor: “Rash of disease” in Fukushima children, rate of cancer in thyroid up to “dozens of times higher than usual” — Expert: Forcible radiation exposure by gov’t (AUDIO)