18 Mars 2018
March 17, 2018
Gov't to ban use of foreign trainees for radioactive decontamination work
The government adopted a written statement banning the use of foreign technical trainees in radioactive decontamination work at a Cabinet meeting on March 16.
The move follows the discovery that a male Vietnamese trainee was assigned radioactive cleanup work relating to the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, without a sufficient explanation beforehand of the type of work involved.
A Vietnamese technical trainee tells of his experience working on decontamination projects in Fukushima Prefecture, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on March 14, 2018. (Mainichi)
At a news conference after the Cabinet meeting, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said an investigation would be carried out to check if there have been any other similar cases.
The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare point out that trainees are not normally employed in decontamination projects overseas. They add that measures to limit radiation exposure are necessary, and that such work environments are not conducive to acquiring new skills.
The government plans to require companies that take on trainees in the future to submit pledges stating that they will not make trainees perform decontamination work.
The statement on the ban was adopted in response to a question from Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Seiji Osaka.
March 18, 2018
Govt. bans decontamination work by foreign interns
The Japanese government has decided to ban companies from using foreign trainees to carry out decontamination work in areas affected by the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The decision comes after a Vietnamese man complained that he was asked to remove contaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture. He told a news conference that he would never have come to Japan if he had known that he would be doing this kind of work. He also expressed concern about the possible impact on his health.
The man came to Japan under a government-backed technical internship program that allows foreigners to acquire skills and knowhow.
The ministries in charge of the program say that decontamination is not suitable work for interns.
They say they will make it mandatory for companies to submit a pledge that trainees will not be asked to do this kind of task.
A group that supports foreign interns says there have been similar cases.
The ministries will warn companies if other cases are discovered and may consider revoking their permission to hire foreign interns.