Trainees sue over Fukushima clean up

Three Vietnamese men, who were on a trainee prgram for foreigners in Japan, have submitted a law suit against a consturction company in Fukushima for making them carry out radioactive decontamiantion work without prior notice. 

The company Hiwada Co., was conducting decontamination work related to the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima. According to  supporters of the plaintiffs the lawsuit was filed with a branch of the Fukushima District Court, demanding the company to pay a total of about 12.3 million yen (115,874 U.S. dollars) in damages. 

The men, who arrived in Japan in July 2015, were made to do decontamination work in the cities of Koriyma and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018, even though the plaintiffs' contracts said they would only be engaging in reinforcing steel placement and formwork installation. Hiwada did not provide them with detailed explanation on decontamination work beforehand, and it did not offer sufficient training either.

The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have said that decontamination work does not fit the purpose of the trainee program. The case adds to a list of malpractices under the Technical Intern Training Program of the Japanese government, which has been often criticized as a cover for introducing cheap labor.

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