• Kyodo

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A construction firm in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, had hired a high school student under 18 part-time to engage in cleaning of a house garden contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, the municipal government disclosed Thursday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s guideline prohibits people younger than 18 to engage in decontamination work, based on the Labor Standards Act, which bans youths from working in areas exposed to harmful radiation.

According to the municipal government, the firm employed the boy from Tochigi part-time for 36 days between August last year and May to carry gravel used to cover the ground of a house in Nasu after the contaminated surface soil is stripped away. The radiation level at the site was more than 0.23 microsieverts per hour, and the decontamination work was subsidized by the municipal government.

The boy has not suffered any health damage, the municipal government said.

The case came to light after an anonymous person reported it to the municipal government in October. The city reprimanded the firm in November and reported the case to the labor standards inspection office.

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