Monday, December 30, 2013

Japan’s homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up

Some say better homeless than going into debt by working [...] Gangsters run Fukushima labour brokers [...] Sendai, the biggest city in the disaster zone, has emerged as a hiring hub for homeless men. Many work [...] cleaning up radioactive hotspots [...] Seiji Sasa, 67 [recruits] homeless men at the Sendai train station to work in the nuclear cleanup. [...] homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say. [...] a shelter funded by the city [...] sent other homeless men to work for him [...] 55-year-old homeless [...] worker’s paystub, reviewed by Reuters, showed charges for food, accommodation and laundry were docked from his monthly pay equivalent to about $1,500, leaving him with $10 [...] The problem of workers running themselves into debt is widespread.

Yasuhiro Aoki, Baptist pastor and homeless advocate: “Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages [...] Then at the end of the month, they’re left with no pay at all.”

Shizuya Nishiyama, 57 years old: He now sleeps on a cardboard box in Sendai Station [...] [For decontamination work, an employer] offered him $90 a day [...] he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work [but] would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt. “We’re an easy target for recruiters [...] if we haven’t eaten, they offer to find us a job.”