Crisis workers note shady practices

Kyodo, JIJI

A recent survey of workers at the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant indicated questionable hiring practices, with nearly half saying they received assignments from companies other than those paying their wages, some being told to falsely identify their employers and others unaware of how much radiation they have been exposed to.

Masayuki Ono, an official at Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant where three reactor meltdowns occurred last year and many areas are too dangerous to get near, said the utility “will take the results seriously” and “will take measures such as overseeing contractors.”

The survey in September and October indicated that 47.9 percent of 2,423 workers hired by subcontract companies received payment from firms different to those instructing them at the workplace, while 125 said they were asked to misidentify their employers. And about 36 percent of such workers had not been given written or verbal explanations about their employment terms.

On radiation exposure, 15.1 percent of all 3,186 respondents, including bosses, said they did not know their exposure levels.