Here’s another heartwarming tale of concern for peoples’ safety that goes well with the stories about how the Japanese Government initially (and indeed are still at it) played down the scale of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Let’s have a look at a subcontractor who takes the notion of “temporary” workers to a whole new level.

 

Japanese authorities are investigating subcontractors on suspicion that they forced workers at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant to underreport the amount of radiation they were exposed to so they could stay on the job longer.

Labor officials said Sunday that an investigation had begun over the weekend following media reports of a cover-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.

A subcontractor of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, acknowledged having nine workers cover their dosimeters with lead plates late last year so the instruments would indicate a lower level of radiation exposure.

The investigation marks the first time the government has looked into the case, believed to be part of a widespread practice at the plant since it was hit by the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.

Dosimeter readings are crucial personal records that determine how much longer a worker can stay on a plant job. Work at highly contaminated areas could quickly eat up a worker’s quota.

The issue reflects a growing concern among the government and TEPCO about how to secure a continuous flow of workers to finish cleaning up the plant. Officials say it will take about 40 years to decommission the plant’s four wrecked reactors — three with melted cores and another with a spent fuel pool in a shattered building.

 

Isn’t that nice? Especially given that everyone knows, for sure, what exposure to radiation will do for you. But when you have to hire more people, it cuts into your profit margin, dont’cha know. Better to kill the people you already have, before you step outside for more workers.

I don’t think that it’s arguable that the Japanese corporate culture is a more ethical one than we have. But you can see that in the wonderful world of capitalism, humanity is just a component, like the amount of fuel burned getting from one place to another is a component. That mentality reigns supreme everywhere. And that mentality is exactly why any capitalism that isn’t strongly regulated is a failure.

 

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