Paul Jobin “Dying for TEPCO? Fukushima’s Nuclear Contract Workers” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Vol 9, Issue 18 No 3, May 2, 2011
As early as the mid-1970s, the use of subcontracting labor in the nuclear industry was well established in Japan. In France, this trend would develop after 1988, reaching a rate of 80% by 1992. According to NISA’s data, in 2009, Japan’s nuclear industry recruited more than 80,000 contract workers against 10,000 regular employees. The initial goal was not necessarily to hide the collective dose, but to limit labor costs. But the fact is that whether in France or Japan, the nuclear industry nurtures a heavy culture of secrecy concerning the number of irradiated workers. As far as we can know, based on the figures published by the Ministry of Health and Labor, before Fukushima’s catastrophe, only 9 former workers received compensation for an occupational cancer linked to their intervention in nuclear plants. This number is probably very far from the reality of the victims, given the number of workers exposed, and the numerous opacities of that system beginning with the fact that TEPCO and other electric power companies have always refused to disclose the list of their subcontractors.