And all pretend to see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.
This is the second part of the talk given by Tomohiko Suzuki, journalist who managed to work inside Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant as a temporary worker, at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on December 15, 2011. For the first part and a bit more about Mr. Suzuki, go to my previous post here.
From BLOGOS Part 1 and BLOGOS Part 2:
About "Fukushima 50":
There are workers and employees [of TEPCO] who became famous world-wide as "Fukushima 50". They are to be praised for having continued working at the plant after the hydrogen explosions trying to contain the accident. But I was told by a researcher at a certain manufacturing company that to work at Fukushima I Nuke Plant at this stage [summer of 2011?] is the same as "to be prepared to die". The crisis situation hasn't changed.
Right after the accident, TEPCO ordered [the first-tier affiliate] companies to gather workers who wouldn't be missed if they died [or who were willing to die]. At that time, no "radioactivity control pocketbook" was needed to enter the plant. There was no health check. In fact, it was a panic situation.
TEPCO's effort to cover their behind:
But TEPCO has been demanding the subcontractors since last month [November 2011] that they submit the name lists of workers [in March and April] together with the results of health checkups. Some workers have already quit, and there is no accurate data on who went to the plant in the [chaotic] situation. There is no point in submitting the result of the health checkups done in order to work in March and April 2011.
So what happens? The subcontractors cannot say to TEPCO that it is impossible to comply with the request. Instead, they will ask workers to "voluntarily" submit the fake health checkup result or close to it. When that's discovered by the media, the subcontractors will say "We didn't order them to fake it" and fire the workers. In almost all aspects of a nuclear power plant operation, that sort of things happens daily.
In that environment, the yakuza comes in as nuke plant workers. Even before the accident, the yakuza is part of the nuclear plant community. If you ask TEPCO they will say they don't know anything about it. When it becomes a problem, TEPCO will blame subcontractors, and cut them off like a lizard's casting off of its tail to escape.
I know only one confirmed yakuza at the [Fukushima] plant. But the yakuza is on the side of procuring workers rather than actually working at the plant. There are many workers who didn't know they got there with the yakuza acting as go-between.
This cannot be presented as evidence, but the cars owned by a certain [yakuza] organization have been upgraded to better and better cars, and it's been rumored that the organization [has been involved in procuring workers for Fukushima I Nuke Plant]. About 10 percent of the workers are from the companies with ties to the yakuza. If you look up the company register you would know right away, because it would list the names of the members [of a particular yakuza organization] as corporate officers.
Plausible deniability. If you don't know it, or don't officially acknowledge it, you are not responsible. It is in the Japanese DNA. It permeates the political, the corporate, and the social lives in Japan. It works wonderfully in peacetime, when everyone sort of looks the other way when some inconvenience happens and pretends he/she doesn't see. When a disaster stares them in their faces, many still cannot see it, thanks to the training it has gotten throughout the history.
Hopefully that is slowly changing, as the Internet and social media (particularly Twitter in Japan) have helped crack the heads of enough people who are starting to wake up.
But "hope" has been a dirty word for the past few years.