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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

More violations of labour laws

July 27, 2013

68% of firms handling decontamination in Fukushima violated labor laws



FUKUSHIMA -- Sixty-eight percent of firms engaged in decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture in the wake of the prefecture's nuclear disaster were found to have violated labor-related laws during a recent survey, the Fukushima Labor Bureau said.

The bureau announced July 24 that it has already instructed those companies to rectify their conduct. The bureau investigated 388 Fukushima workplaces between January and June this year, mainly through snap inspections, and confirmed a total of 684 violations at 264 offices, officials said.

Seventy percent of the misconduct involved violations of the Labor Standards Act, including 108 cases of unpaid overtime, 90 cases of undocumented payrolls and 82 cases of failure to present working conditions.

The remaining 30 percent involved violations of the Industrial Safety and Health Act. Failure to conduct research on radiation dosages prior to decontamination work was reported in 20 cases, followed by 16 cases of failure to provide workers with proper education on radiation and 14 cases of failure to monitor radioactive contamination levels after decontamination work had finished.

In addition, the bureau discovered 12 cases in which the special daily allowance for decontamination work (around 10,000 yen) had not been paid, and reported these cases to the Ministry of the Environment.

The bureau conducted a similar investigation between April and December last year, targeting 242 firms, and discovered that 45 percent were violating the laws. Officials attributed the large increase this time to the fact that more items had been added to the inspection list.



July 25, 2013


Rampant violations of labor-related laws in decontamination work  





FUKUSHIMA--Nearly 70 percent of companies engaged in decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture were found to be in violation of job-related laws, according to the Fukushima Labor Bureau.

Of 388 companies, 264 firms, or 68 percent, had breached the Labor Standards Law or the Industrial Safety and Health Law in a total of 684 cases, the bureau said July 24.

The firms have been instructed to clean up their act, it added.

In on-the-spot inspections from January to June, the bureau uncovered 473 cases that violated the Labor Standards Law and 211 cases that breached the Industrial Safety and Health Law.

The Labor Standards Law violations included not clearly explaining the labor conditions, such as wages including the hazard allowance, and not paying wages.

The Industrial Safety and Health Law violations included not spending the required time for special safety education.

In March it was revealed by The Asahi Shimbun that some companies were not paying hazard allowances to decontamination workers and were instructing them not to talk about the non-payment to government inspectors.

When the labor standards inspection offices mount on-the-spot inspections, they have to implement them without giving advance notification to companies.

However, the Tomioka Labor Standards Inspection Office notified a company in advance. As a result, workers were instructed to lie to inspectors by saying they were receiving hazard allowance.

"In cases in which companies have to prepare related documents for our inspections, we notify companies of our inspections in advance,” said Yasufumi Kikuchi, director of the bureau's labor standards department, on July 24.

"Because of that, the Tomioka case does not correspond to leakage of inspection-related information by staff of the inspection office," he said. "But the advance notification led to an undesirable practice (of instructing workers to lie to inspectors). So we have to review the advance notification system."

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