In a recent report in the Japan Times the author reports that for the people in power the most important point is to keep the nuclear dance with death continuing:
The election of the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party to power in December 2012 was not about energy policy, but has revived prospects for the nuclear village; citizens may favor phasing out nuclear energy, but they will not get to decide. Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi tie-ups with General Electric, Westinghouse and Areva mean that Japan stands at the nexus of the global nuclear-energy industry. The recent award of a $22 billion contract by Turkey to a Japanese-led consortium indicates how high the stakes are, explaining why domestic firms’ nuclear-policy preferences are fully reflected in government policy.
If Japan terminated nuclear power, the pain would extend beyond the utilities and vendors; lenders and investors, including Japan’s major banks and insurance firms, would also face huge losses. Pulling the plug on nuclear power could also drive some of Japan’s 10 utilities into insolvency. In addition, there have been strident voices from the political right calling for the retention of nuclear energy because it leaves available the nuclear-weapons option. Washington, too, has warned Tokyo that phasing out nuclear energy would harm bilateral relations because it would raise concerns about Japan’s large stockpiles of plutonium and uncomfortable questions about the consistency of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts targeting Iran and North Korea.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the cleanup, a report on Rocket News says that workers are being paid about $10 daily:
Despite being able to rent lodging facilities from the government and others for free or for very little money, contractors forcibly deduct inflated accommodation and meal charges from workers’ pay. When the 10,000 yen (US$111) a day “danger pay” provided to contractors by the government (read: taxpayers) is taken into consideration, it means the contractors themselves end up forking out a measly 1,000 yen (US$11) a day per worker.
According to another report also on Rocket News:
According to a book recently published by Tomohiko Suzuki, a freelance journalist who went undercover as a laborer at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant for two months this year, people who were unable to repay loans from yakuza gangs were forced to work at the site as a means of repaying their debts.
At the highest levels, the corporate powers are committed to continuing nuclear power as long as it is profitable, and turning the problem over to government if it becomes unprofitable. At the lowest level, the workers who are trying to decontaminate the environment are being taken advantage of by the corporate system of subcontracting the work out, paying for others to take the health risks.
- Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi General Electric, Westinghouse, Areva will make Japan keep nuclear power (nuclear-news.net)