Fukushima cleanup exploits homeless laborers, investigation shows


Reuters is back with more details on the Fukushima labor mess, and this time the focus is on the issues facing homeless laborers being recruited for work. In a follow-up to a wide-ranging report earlier this year, Reuters details how many homeless people are being picked up from train stations and carted out to go clean up nuclear waste and other debris from the 2011 tsunami that wreaked havoc on the region. Many of these people are not being paid even the minimum wage, the report claims, and end up with next to nothing after fees are taken out of their checks to pay for food and lodging by the myriad subcontractors involved in the $35 billion cleanup. Adding intrigue to it all, Reuters says many of those subcontractors are organized gangsters, and have found the massive cleanup operation to be lucrative, with big payouts from hazard pay and recruiting.

From train stations to cleaning up nuclear waste

All the debris, and other waste being picked up as part of the cleanup effort, eventually has to go somewhere. A recent provision to Japan's budget for next year is an intermediate storage facility that will hold some 28 million cubic meters of radioactive debris for the next 30 years, or until a permanent storage area is found. Timing has become an issue of its own, as residents in nearby areas wait to move back into their homes, something that now faces a years-long delay due to a shortage of places to put the irradiated materials.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.