3 Vietnamese trainees newly found to have taken part in Fukushima cleanup work
Three more Vietnamese technical intern trainees were sent by a contractor to carry out decontamination work at the Fukushima nuclear disaster area, it was learned from sources including a support organization.
The number of foreign trainees known to have taken part in the decontamination work now totals four. The Organization for Technical Intern Training under the jurisdictions of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is investigating the facts behind the incidents and there is a possibility that the number will rise.
According to the Zentouitsu Workers Union based in Tokyo, the trainees in the latest incident are all males and aged 24 to 34. They came to Japan in July 2015 and joined the contractor in the city of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, to make molds and reinforce metal bars. Instead, the trio worked on decontaminating roads and other areas in Koriyama and the city of Motomiya, Fukushima Prefecture, from April 2016 to March 2018.
A supervisory organization for the contractor reportedly explained to the union that Koriyama and Motomiya were areas free of radiation exposure.
(Japanese original by Naoki Sugi, Maebashi Bureau)
More Vietnamese trainees made to conduct Fukushima decontamination work, union says
Three more Vietnamese men in a foreign trainee program in Japan were made to take part in radioactive decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the March 2011 nuclear crisis, their supporters said Wednesday.
The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau is conducting a probe, believing more foreigners may have been made to engage in inappropriate work under the Technical Intern Training Program.
Japan introduced the program in 1993 with the aim of transferring skills to developing countries. But the scheme, applicable to agriculture and manufacturing among other sectors, has drawn criticism at home and abroad for giving Japanese companies a cover to importing cheap labor.
According to the Zentouitsu Workers Union, which supports foreign trainees, the three Vietnamese men came to Japan in July 2015 and conducted radiation cleanup work in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018 as trainees of a construction company in the city of Koriyama in the prefecture.
Their contracts only stated that they would be engaging in form-work installation and reinforcing steel placements, and the company did not give them a detailed explanation of the decontamination work beforehand.
In March, a Vietnamese trainee hired by a construction firm in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, said at a news conference in Tokyo that he had been misled into conducting decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture.
The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have released statements saying that decontamination work does not fit the purpose of the trainee program.