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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 24 - May 7  > Gov’t argues against TEPCO’s plan to use foreign workers for decommissioning work at Fukushima Daiichi NPP
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2019 April 24 - May 7 [LABOR]

Gov’t argues against TEPCO’s plan to use foreign workers for decommissioning work at Fukushima Daiichi NPP

April 24, 2019
A government official on April 23 said that it is not allowable for Tokyo Electric Power Company to use foreign workers for decommissioning work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The official made this remark in response to a question from Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Nihi Sohei in a Diet meeting. Nihi urged the government to fully instruct the utility not to do so.

A few days earlier, the power company announced its plan to accept foreign workers on “specified skills” visas and assign them to the crippled Fukushima NPP to engage in decommissioning works. This is supposedly to fill the shortage of workers due to the high risk of exposure to radiation at the Fukushima site.

Foreign workers on “specified skills” visas are allowed to perform jobs in 14 industries, including construction and nursing care. TEPCO expressed its intent to accept workers from abroad under industrial categories such as construction and a few others to use them as decommissioning laborers.

Nihi in a House of Councilors Judicial Affairs Committee meeting asked the government whether “specified skills” workers will be allowed to work in the Fukushima plant as TEPCO intends. A Land Ministry official answered in the negative, saying that decontamination work and demolition work are not included in the list of government-designated jobs in the construction industry.

Nihi also asked whether foreign workers on “specified skills” visas will be allowed to work at the Fukushima nuclear power plant as car mechanics, cleaning staff, or food service workers. Government officials claimed that they would not.

Nihi said that TEPCO announced the plan about the use of foreign workers at the Fukushima NPP based on a misunderstanding of the new visa system and that this is a serious problem and should not be dismissed as just a "misunderstanding". He stressed that the government should instruct the utility to retract the plan and to notify its contractors of the government clarification of the specified skills visa rules.

Past related articles:
> TEPCO intends to accept foreign workers to work on decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi NPP [April 20, 2019]
> JCP Fujino: New residence status lacks protection of foreign workers’ human rights [March 14, 2019]
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