Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#Radioactive Japan with No Money Part 2: Government/TEPCO to Cover Annual Cancer Screening Costs of Only 3.7% of #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Workers

That's 904 workers out of 24,118 who have worked at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant since March 2011, up to September this year.

It's still over 5-fold increase, though. Originally when Prime Minister Noda declared a "cold shutdown state" to the ridicule of the world on December 16, 2011, only 167 workers who had exceeded the cumulative radiation of 100 millisieverts one day prior were to be fully covered by the national government for annual cancer screening for life, but no one else.

In August this year, TEPCO (at that time already effectively nationalized) was kind enough to lower the limit to 50 millisieverts, but the exposure should have been sustained by December 16, 2011 to qualify for the free checkups.

How much does a cancer screening test cost? About 50,000 yen (US$610). 45.2 million yen (about US$549,000) per year for 904 people, instead of 1.2 billion yen (US$15 million) per year for 24,118 people.

The Japanese government is paying 22 trillion yen (US$268 billion), or about a quarter of the annual budget, in interest payments for its enormous debt. "We owe it to ourselves", say the Japanese citizens, analysts, politicians alike.

I guess they don't feel they owe it to the subcon workers at Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

From Asahi Shinbun (11/22/2012; part):


(Report by Miki Aoki) It has been revealed that only 904 workers, or 3.7% of the 24,118 workers who have worked at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant since the start of the accident up to September this year will be able to receive free cancer screening tests from the national government and TEPCO. It is because the national government and TEPCO will allow free cancer tests only to workers who had already received more than 50 millisieverts of radiation by the December [16] declaration by the Noda administration that the accident was over. TEPCO says the workers who are worried can still talk to the company by calling 03-3597-0741 to speak with [TEPCO's] attorney.


Even after the declaration that the nuclear accident is over, the work at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is carried out in a high radiation environment. For example, 24 workers exceeded cumulative radiation exposure of 50 millisieverts just this September. However, except for 2 TEPCO employees who are exempt [from the government/TEPCO rule], 22 workers won't be eligible for free cancer screening tests.


Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare set up the system last October which designated the workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant as "workers engaged in emergency work" and allowed them to receive annual cancer screening tests for free for life if their cumulative radiation level exceeded 100 millisieverts.


The cost (about 50,000 yen [US$610]) would be borne by the employers, and if the workers quit, the national government would pay the cost.


However, when the Noda administration declared the end of the nuclear accident on December 16 last year, Ministry of Health decided that the emergency work was now basically over and limited the number of workers eligible for the free annual cancer checkups to 167 who had already exceeded 100 millisieverts as of December 15, 2011, one day prior to the declaration.


This August, TEPCO announced the remedial measures whereby 663 workers who had exceeded 50 millisieverts by the time of the declaration would be added to the workers who could receive free checkups. In addition, some TEPCO employees who carry out particular work will receive free checkups even if they exceed 50 millisieverts after the declaration, and there are 74 such employees so far.


At Fukushima I Nuke Plant, in September alone, 27 workers were exposed to 10 to 20 millisieverts of radiation, which is very high, as evidenced by the 20 millisieverts per year standard used by the companies that work in nuclear power plants. There are workers at Fukushima I Nuke plant who say all workers should be included in the program [of free annual cancer screening tests]. If this health management problem is underestimated, workers may start avoiding the work at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, causing the delay in decommissioning which is estimated to last for more than 40 years.

40 years. That's why some right-wing politicians (including the vice governor of Tokyo) have been talking about reinstating the draft and send young people to work at the plant, willing or not.

As you see, the declaration in December last year that the cold shutdown "state" was achieved and the nuclear accident was over was made so that the national government would not need to spend extraordinary amount of money on the workers at the plant and to the residents in Fukushima who were displaced by the nuclear accident. Instead, the government have been generously giving money to general contractors doing the "decontamination" and transporting disaster debris full of asbestos and heavy metals as well as radioactive materials to be burned and buried in faraway places like Osaka and Kitakyushu.

LDP politicians, already planning for their administration (or at least how to spend more taxpayers' money once they get there, which they have no doubt about), wants to have a supplementary budget to the tune of 5 trillion yen or more right after the election. You can bet none of the money is going to Fukushima I Nuke Plant workers.


Anonymous said...

50,000 jpy is not 61 usd.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

missing one zero... thanks.

Scott said...

On the note of LDP is there any chance you'll do a little commentary on the current anti nuclear political parties and their chances of winning in the seemingly 2 horse race in Japan?

I'd really be interested to read your opinion on this particular matter that seems to be pretty big in current Japanese news.

Do you feel the common Japanese voter would go out of thier way to vote in December's elections if the anti-nuke parties had a chance to win and actually change things? Or are they all full of BS themselves?

I really don't want Noda's party of broken promises continue as he's pretty much made them a carbon copy of the LDP now. Abe doesn't deserve a second chance and he'd probably complicate international relations with his very openly confrontational way of handling things.

Scott said...

-Sorry I meant a carbon copy of the DPJ. I didn't catch that until it was too late.

Also sorry for being a bit off topic here. I really didn't know where else to ask about this on your blog.

Anonymous said...

It'll probably be cheaper in the long run had they moved out of there to begin with.

Anonymous said...

What about the first responders (Fire,Police and Military)? I haven't heard one peep about them since last year. Those people were highly exposed for days most without the benefit of even half-ass dosimetery. Is the government going to follow the health of those people or are they considered "OK" because they can't prove their level of exposure? It really seems TEPCO and the Government are conspiring not to know about possible health effects. With all the rounding down of contamination levels and a reluctance to alarm the public I'm surprised they are even checking 1% especially when we all know the only results allowed to see the light of day will be all smiles and sunny days.

Apolline said...

The government and TEPCO did not listen to the recommandations of UN rapporteur :


To be read.

Anonymous said...

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 38 and a half years to go, maybe longer, if we live that long.

There is no future in nuclear. None. Not for anyone.

Anonymous said...

"talking about reinstating the draft and send young people to work at the plant, willing or not."

This sounds like the plot for a science fiction film of a dystopian future (or the Chernobyl disaster). You can be sure none of the right wingers will be putting their kids up for the draft or if they do their kids will have cushy jobs far from the contamination acting as "consultants". It won't be long before they are agitating to sweep up the homeless and the chronically unemployed to put to work at the plant. The politically disadvantaged segment of society would be the perfect people to repopulate the forbidden zone and they'd be close to work.

The government could offer a "free education" you'll receive a BA in reactor custodial technology if you volunteer for reactor clean up duty for two years. You could get your masters with a 6 year commitment. Student housing could be in the forbidden zone where they could gain a greater understanding of radiation contamination while they learn to smile away the effects of radiation.

VyseLegendaire said...

@ Anon 10:51 AM

The scenario is not that far fetched in my opinion. Universities are already offering credits for decontamination work in the affected areas. It wouldn't take more than a few changes in the political winds for the youth to be 'called to arms' to defend their nation, what with head politicians clamoring for favor and itching to restore normalcy and honor to Japan.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

>It won't be long before they are agitating to sweep up the homeless and the chronically unemployed to put to work at the plant.

They've been already doing that. Remember NHK documentary? Homeless people were grabbed and sent off to Fukushima I. They are offering work at Fuku-I, or in highly contaminated areas for decon work, to the unemployed living in temporary housing in Fukushima.

Probably no job will be left even for the children of well-connected parents.

But not to worry. People are now having high hopes for bright future because a female governor in Shiga Prefecture has declared she is forming a new party to "graduate" from nuclear. Whatever.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Scott, I'm reading up on it and I don't think I like what I see. But then, I don't seem to like much of anything I see, so discount me on that when you read my next post... LOL.

Anonymous said...

"Sweeping up the homeless and the debt-ridden" has been done before in Japan: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/493133.stm

It is being done now. Nothing has changed and nothing will change until these sheep get off their fat, disinterested, selfish asses and starting giving a shit about someone other than themselves. And yes, before you start criticizing, I do live in Japan and have done so for the last 20 years. I am in the contaminated zone as well and saw the radiation readings going off the charts in the days and weeks after the accident while the gov't claimed nothing was happening.
A few years ago, the people in my office refused to believe it when I showed them the same article I posted above. They all claimed that it could never happen in Japan. They repeated the same bullshit when I showed them the online prefectural radiation readings going off the charts in the days after the accident(SPEEDI). Mothers with young children told me it was wrong to leave and that the foreign media was exaggerating the danger.

Anonymous said...

They say the danger is exaggerated because they want to believe that. People are incapable of differentiating between what they want to believe and what the actual facts are.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear is death, country has reactors? Then your value is nothing. Fact.
Keep paying your taxes, support that BULLSHIT.
COWARDS "If you support that, that is."

Anonymous said...

OT: "The Zuni Enigma: 13th Century AD Asian Influence?"

Do the Japanese have any stories or myths about people who sailed away from Japan in the 13th century? I thought this article might be of interest if the theory isn't widely known in Japan.

"Then, a 1992 brown-bag lunch presentation at the University of New Mexico entitled "The Zuni Enigma: 13th Century AD Asian Influence?" led her back to her old topic. The enthusiastic reception for her talk led her to transform the paper into a book. In May, The Zuni Enigma (W. W. Norton) went to press, sparking debate from other anthropologists and media coverage, and garnering a five-star rating from Amazon.com reviewers.

Arguing that there is significant evidence of a medieval Japanese migration to the U.S., she begins by citing Zuni history. The tribe's origin myth revolves around the notion of groups of peoples convening to find the middle of the world; likewise, she says, a sect of Amida Buddhists spoke of a paradise-like Itiwanna, or "the land in the middle of the earth." The first Zuni pueblos date from about 1350; the Amida Buddhist sect flourished around the same era. Davis discusses other uncanny, wide-ranging similarities between the two cultures: the sacred rosette of the Zunis bears a noteworthy resemblance to the Japanese imperial chrysanthemum; linguistic parallelism-both syntactical and lexical; and a proportionally higher rate of a condition leading to end-stage renal disease. For the book's epigraph, Davis quotes a Zuni veteran of WWII, who says; "I always wondered why I spoke Japanese so easily."


"...evidence suggesting Asian admixture is found in Zuni biology, lexicon, religion, social organization, and oral traditions of migration. Possible cultural and language links of Zuni to California, the social disruption at the end of the Heian period of the 12th century in Japan, the size of Japanese ships at the time of proposed migration, the cluster of significant changes in the late 13th century in Zuni, all lend further credibility to a relatively late prehistoric contact."


Post a Comment