Fukushima, Some Give In, Others Fight Back

You don’t always see such a contrast in the same week. Fukushima City convinced 110 volunteers to help the decontaminate areas of the city. These volunteers were not trained people with some sort of knowledge of decontamination or handling nuclear waste. They were average people including women of child bearing age. The Yomiuri Shimbun article says the people were given gloves, masks and a survey meter. What they are clearly doing is handling nuclear waste in their street clothes with paper masks that they would then get into their cars to go home wearing and into their home to launder.  This is work that should be handled by trained workers. If there is a shortage of workers they could train and hire some of the 70% unemployed now living in temporary housing who lost their jobs due to the disaster. Training them, paying them for the risk they are taking on and giving them the standard workers benefits like workers compensation if they should happen to become ill from the work is still far better than playing on the sympathies of volunteers to undertake dangerous work.

The Wall Street Journal points out how complicated and ineffective most of the decontamination efforts are.  There have been many instances of such decontamination work not doing much to actually lower radiation levels or the levels soon go back up as the area re-contaminates.

Meanwhile many people have fought back. 10,000 people rallied in Fukushima City demanding proper and prompt compensation and effective decontamination. The mayor of Namie, one of the worst effected towns was at the rally and said this to the group gathered.

Our town should be decontaminated at the earliest possible date and our life should be restored as it was before March 11,”

A total of 60 lawyers divided into two groups in Fukushima are fighting for the victims of the disaster. The teams say they will give legal advice and one team has already agreed to assist 50 people in their effort to demand proper compensation from TEPCO.

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