Homeless recruited to decontaminate Fukishima; paid less than minimum wage




Fukushima, the disaster that keeps on giving.

Hopefully Takayoshi Igarashi is harder to disappear than a random hobo.


Ah, the value of human life. Just one can earn a corporation many thousands of dollars.


Seems to me, in Japan you have a major robotics industry and a whole lot of gamers. Assign each gamer a robot capable of picking up trash and remotely viewable cameras, and give out points and prizes.


Subcontractor scapegoating, it's the wave of the future!

I'm glad the problem isn't serious enough that they're looking for an actual solution, but instead investing all their efforts into assigning blame and handing out diminutive fines. It's not like anyone is going to die over it or anything.


Well, not right away, anyhow. You have three sets of planning in Engineering- Planned to Last, Built to Last, Built to Last to My Retirement. The third one is generally how long things are planned to last.


Robots cost money. Homeless people apparently don't.


Not only that, but they were developing the wrong sort of robots. Cute ones for entertainment value, or ones that were aimed at trying to help an aging elderly population. After the disaster, they had no robots that had enough shielding to withstand the radiation, or do anything practical in the cleanup.


Turns out that computer hardware hates radiation almost as much as living tissue. This is one reason space rated computer systems are so hideously expensive and underpowered.


The problem with using the Corporations favourite dodge, 'the diffusion of responsibility', along with homeless people is that they have not been sufficiently indoctrinated to the cause and so the drum of rhetoric will not be tight and loud.

Using such a dodge in the real world, where they don't have full control over their 'employees', is sure to generate some kind of organised retaliation by the community.

Allowing the host to create antibodies is generally considered to be a bad move for parasites.

Perhaps they can minimise their culpability footprint by forcing the homeless people to sign off on some kind of 'Unfairness Awareness Training' program. A multiple choice, Flash based, click-through quiz which educates them about their status as chattel-property and forces them to sign away their rights before being allowed to complete the compulsory 'training'.


I don't think it's called out very well here, but many (most?) of these service companies and construction companies they're subcontracting to are run by, infested by, or otherwise affiliated with yakuza (organized crime). This kind of thing is their bread and butter (or ramen), rather than cruder stuff like protection rackets. Then they do the mafia thing of using shoddy concrete or this kind of dodge - taking lots of money to supply workers and hiring homeless people for a pittance.

On the plus side, the homeless people are probably more competent than the TEPCO employees.


Plot twist: the TEPCO employees were just homeless guys they dressed up in uniforms when the inspectors came to visit.


I think it's an open question at this point as to whether the "managed democracy" paradigm is actually competent to govern.


This is Chernobyl all over again.


You're absolutely correct; the yakuza dominate the construction industry (especially labour brokerage) and they are generally able to provide a better service for less money than their government equivalents.

Generally, this works out well for everyone involved but the consequence is a complete lack of oversight or accountability, which only manifests itself in cases like this. Tepco have been using homeless day labourers for years, knowing full well that the fact they are largely invisible to the rest of society (as well as being simultaneously dependent on the yakuza for work and extremely vulnerable to violent reprisals) means that they are unlikely to ever face any consequences for abuse of their labour force.

The BBC made a documentary about this in 1995, which is up on YouTube for those who are interested: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CNq0qyQJ5xs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DCNq0qyQJ5xs

Anyone who thinks unfettered capitalism is a force for good really should read up on the yakuza. "Goldman Sachs with guns" is the most apt description I've come across so far...


The mercantile tradition that had led to Ionian science also led to a slave economy. You could get richer if you owned a lot of slaves. Athens in the time of Plato and Aristotle had a vast slave population. All that brave Athenian talk about democracy applied only to a privileged few. -Carl Sagan


I remember hearing how the human immunodeficiency virus, i.e. HIV, basically dies in around 20 minutes after the host passes on. I wonder how long a corporation lives after it has killed all its customers?


Forever, thanks to regulatory capture and corporate welfare.

Your taxes at work.


Where is Fukishima? Is it close to Fu**ku**shima?


Amusingly enough, this was a sub-plot of a Ghost in the Shell episode in 2004, where refugees are used to clean up a pre-war nuclear reactor