Three United Nations human rights experts have criticized the Japanese government for allegedly exploiting and putting at risk the lives of "tens of thousands" of people engaged in cleanup operations at and around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

In a joint statement released on Thursday, the experts expressed their deep concerns "about possible exploitation by deception regarding the risks of exposure to radiation, possible coercion into accepting hazardous working conditions because of economic hardships, and the adequacy of training and protective measures."

"Workers hired to decontaminate Fukushima reportedly include migrant workers, asylum seekers and people who are homeless," the experts said, adding they were "equally concerned about the impact that exposure to radiation may have on their physical and mental health."