Development as Fairness 創造公平的資源分配
An interview with Paul Jobin
Paul Jobin’s research on Japanese (and Taiwanese) nuclear plant workers began in 2002, mainly at Fukushima Daiichi. After March 2011, he conducted further interviews in Fukushima and joined rounds of negotiation launched by labor groups with the Ministry of Health and Labor.
Could you summarize the policies towards radiation protection in Fukushima, and what characterizes the current situation, one year after the nuclear disaster?
Even before the disaster, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) employed a large pool of workers in order not to exceed the annual quota of radiation per person. The latest statistics from TEPCO (dated November 30, 2011) reported 3,745 workers on the site in March (about 1700 TEPCO employees and 2,000 subcontractors), and 14,000 for the time from April to October. The overwhelming majority of the latter, more than 12,400, were subcontractors. These figures, already substantial, might not take into account level 5 to 8 subcontractors who perform the tasks that are the most directly exposed to ionizing radiation.
Level 1 refers to TEPCO employees and level 2 to those employed by the reactor manufacturers, Hitachi, Toshiba, and GE. These are the “upper crust”, executives and technicians who enjoy high salaries and good social security benefits. Beneath them, levels 3 and 4, are composed primarily of employees of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) specialized in nuclear power. These are the most highly skilled workers (plumbers, heating engineers, electricians, etc.). Many of the SMEs are local, but their employees include many "gypsies" who go from one plant to another in search of work. Levels 5 to 8 form a very opaque world, with recruitment methods that range from hiring by temporary agencies to yakuza. The result is that half of the workers do undergo little or no health and radiation checks. We can say that there is systematic camouflage of the collective radiation of the most exposed front line workers.
At what level does radiation become dangerous?
In fact, the debate has been greatly distorted since World War II, starting with the American “Atoms for Peace” program of 1953 that promoted nuclear power globally and in Japan sought to sweeten the pill of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by clearly distinguishing the ravages of nuclear weapons from the benefits of nuclear power. The result is that, for sixty years, nuclear industry-subsidized pseudo-scientific research has greatly simplified the health consequences of exposure to ionizing radiation. 
At the same time, nuclear workers can file an application for recognition of an occupational disease if they can show a total cumulated dose of 5 mSv. This is a major contradiction since, according to ICRP last recommendations (2007), workers can be exposed to 20 mSv per year in normal time, and up to 1000 mSv in case of emergency. On this subject, I interrogated twice Nagataki Shigenobu, an adviser to the Japanese Prime Minister: he evaded the issue by separating "Science" - that is to say the epidemiological studies of UNSCEAR and WHO, which are closely monitored by the IAEA - from "Policy", that is to say, the various “social compromises” that a government must make depending of the situation. So, if the nuclear industry exposes workers to dangerous radiation levels in order to solve the crisis, or in normal time to perform the maintenance of power plants, in return, the industry agreed to pay a certain level of compensation for those who “accept to take that risk”.
Regarding the "social compromise" mentioned by the Prime Minister’s expert, we note that since 1991, fourteen Japanese workers have been recognized as victims of an occupational disease due to their employment in nuclear power plants. Some contracted leukemia after exposure to 50 mSv per year. However, in Fukushima City, which stands nearly 50 miles away from the nuclear plant, some neighborhoods show levels close to 60 mSv per year. Such levels are similar to a nuclear plant’s "controlled areas", which are exposed to high rates of radiation. For example, in 2009, even at Fukushima Daiichi which is one of the oldest Japanese nuclear plant (thus cumulating more radiation), according to the figures from TEPCO and NISA, no worker was exposed over 20 mSv a year.
A hot spot in the suburbs of Fukushima city, August 2011: 6.25 microsieverts per hour per hour (54,75 mSv a year). (Photo: Paul Jobin)
Thus, it is obvious that the workers are not the only ones who are at risk from over-exposure to external radiation; the population is at risk too, as if the entire prefecture of Fukushima has become a vast "controlled area".
What is the government’s response to internal contamination when radioactive particles are inhaled or when contaminated food is ingested?
However, this would be more effective than the "decontamination" operations being conducted in Fukushima. For example, the nuclear lobby has urged the Government to provide grants for cleaning with pressurized water guns!
Decontamination work (josen) in Iidatemura, 13 January, 2012. (Photo: Kristopher Stevens)
It would be wiser to compensate farmers and encourage those who wish to move to depopulated and aging rural areas, which are numerous in Japan. But this is obviously not the priority of the industrial sector nor the “social compromise” planned.
A testament written with chalk on a desk by a farmer of Iitate before he committed suicide.
''Genpatsu sae nakereba": "If only there was no nuclear plants"(Photo: Hasegawa Ken’ichi)
Many prefer to turn a blind eye as it is reassuring to believe TEPCO’s nonsense and the nostrums provided by scholars associated with the nuclear lobby. But there is also a growing awareness of the problem, which can be observed for example through the vast mobilization in the region of Fukushima and Tokyo among citizens and on the Internet. In mid-January, a conference organized in Yokohama by a forum of antinuclear associations brought together 11,500 people including researchers and activists over two days.
Conference for a Nuclear Free World, Yokohama, Jan.14-15, 2011. (Photos by Aiya Hsu)
Children during Conference for a Nuclear Free World, Yokohama, Jan.14-15, 2011. (Photo: Aiya Hsu)
Are nuclear workers more aware of the risks posed by radiation?
During the first week of the crisis, those who remained or returned to work at Fukushima Daiichi were well aware that it was very dangerous. Some wanted to take responsibility and from the month of June, the worst seemed to have been avoided. But this did not mean that all the workers on-site had precise knowledge of the risks they were taking. I remember for example a young skilled worker, TS, whom I met for the first time in late June. He provided a very genuine and sincere account of the first weeks of the disaster. He had very good technical knowledge of the power plant operating system, including the reactor buildings. However, he had very limited understanding of the consequences for health of a sudden or prolonged exposure to significant amounts of radiation. At our second meeting, in late July, he agreed to meet in the company of a friend who is involved in union negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Labor. They kept in touch afterwards, and today, TS regularly informs his co-workers of the risks.
Gradually, thanks to contact with anti-nuclear associations, trade unions based in Tokyo or Osaka and some journalists and researchers, these workers have realized the price they might pay themselves, or their children. Associations are trying to negotiate with the Ministry of Health and Labor to restore the maximum level of exposure to the previous level of 20 mSv per year. They are also calling for a precise definition of the notion of "emergency work", as the “emergency” could justify maintaining high standards of radiation exposure for many years to come.
What defines the urgency and the gravity of the situation?
In short, if the nuclear "risk managers" themselves tell us that the industry’s risk exceeds the probability calculations, a risk so great that they do not even want to think about it, we had better take their word for it.
This interview was translated from French by Cerise Phiv, edited by Daniel Pagan Murphy for eRenlai.com, with further editing by Paul Jobin and Mark Selden for the Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus.
A previous version was published in Nouvel observateur: http://leplus.nouvelobs.com/contribution/374383-centrale-de-fukushima-que-sont-devenus-les-ouvriers-du-nucleaire.html
See also Paul Jobin, “Back to Fukushima”: http://www.etui.org/en/Topics/Health-Safety/HesaMag
And Japan Focus: http://japanfocus.org/-Paul-Jobin/3523
 Yuki Tanaka and Peter Kuznick, Japan, the Atomic Bomb, and the “Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Power” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 18 No 1, May 2, 2011. http://www.japanfocus.org/-Yuki-TANAKA/3521
 Sawada Shōji, emeritus professor at the University of Nagoya, explained very clearly how the neglect of internal contamination on the cohorts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki hibakusha have led to an obvious minimization of the consequences of low-doses radiation. See http://peacephilosophy.blogspot.com/search?q=%E6%B2%A2%E7%94%B0%E6%98%AD%E4%BA%8C
See also the defense of that documentary by Prof.Sawada Shōji against the protest of the nuclear lobby, in Days Japan, March 2012. Another NHK documentary, on January 15, 2012, "Umi kara no hokoku" was an outstanding investigation in collaboration with scholars on the marine contamination. Hot spots were found so far as 100 km downward of Fukushima Daiichi: $BCN$i$l$6$kJ| $B!A3$$+$i$N6[5^Js9p (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xnq56z_20120115-yyyyyyyyyy-yyyyyyyy_news?start=2#from=embediframe
On September 10, Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission and former Italian Prime minister, was the guest of the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute at Fudan University, Shanghai. Together with Professor Melloni, director of the John XXII Foundation for Religious Science in Bologna, he was introducing to a Chinese audience the flagship project of the Foundation: a database regrouping the editions of all Ecumenical Church Councils, in all languages and writing systems in which they had been acted
What follows is a slightly abridged English version of the speech he pronounced in Italian on this occasion:
備受全球 期待的哥本哈根聯合國氣候變化綱要公約締約國會議，在爭議中落幕，大會以附註的方式，認知（take note of）了《哥本哈根協定》（Copenhagen Accord），內容包括全球均溫上升應控制在工業革命前的攝氏2度內；今年1月底前，工業化國家須提報2020年前溫室氣體減量的目標；同時在2020年前，每年提供發展中國家1000億美元的援助；而發展中國家，則應宣示適合國情的減量行動。這一份未經大會議決，且缺乏政治、法律約束力的文件，勉強保住了與會119位國家領袖的顏面，卻無法掩蓋後京都氣候談判缺乏氣候正義的事實。
攝影／Sam Ose & Olai Skjaervoy
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