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17 September
Tuesday

Asia

Foreign workers can work at crisis-hit Fukushima-1

But they must know Japanese language that reduce risks

Photo: Kyodo

/NOVOSTIVL/ The operator of the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant plans to allow foreign nationals to work at the complex through a new visa program that started earlier this month, company officials said Thursday. This article appeared in Kyodo.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has told dozens of its subcontractors that foreign workers coming under the recently adopted program, which is intended to address Japan’s acute labor shortage, may engage in the work of decommissioning the plant.

They may also take up work cleaning buildings and providing food services, the company said.

To prevent unsafe levels of radiation exposure, Tepco said foreign workers must have Japanese-language abilities that allow them to accurately understand the risks and follow procedures and instructions communicated to them in Japanese.

In controlled radiation areas, workers need to carry dosimeters. On average, approximately 4,000 people work for Tepco subcontractors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant each day.

The Justice Ministry does not allow foreign trainees working under the program, which is aimed at transferring skills to developing countries, to engage in decommissioning work as the skills acquired would have no application in their home country. The internship program is often criticized as a cover for companies to import cheap labor.

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