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Japan’s nuclear industry in the grip of the criminal yakuza

The Nuclear Mafia Derails Democracy in Japan Dissident Voice, by Richard Wilcox / August 31st, 2012

End of the day, factory whistle cries, Men walk through these gates with death in their eyes.
– Bruce Springsteen, “Factory

Bring us the living dead. People no one will miss.
– Fukushima official’s request to Yakuza

TEPCO’s involvement with anti-social forces and their inability to filter them out of the work-place is a national security issue … Nuclear energy shouldn’t be in the hands of the yakuza. They’re gamblers and an intelligent person doesn’t want them to have atomic dice to play with.
– Japanese Senator1…. The exploitation of labor at nuclear plants depends on the tools of social engineering, of government, mass media and schools. This is the hidden and shameful side of today’s materialist society and belies our complicity in a criminalized culture.

Inefficient and corrupt employment practices at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) are prolonging the disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) outsources 90 percent of the work to subcontractors, mainly utilizing Japan’s criminal syndicates, “the Yakuza.” Japan is still a middle class society and most people will not volunteer for nuclear work. Japan risks running out of workers who have not exceeded their legal radiation limits.

Considered to be “Japan’s largest organized crime group” — who are on the radar of the US Treasury Dept. (another big crime group) — the Yakuza offer a service to society by sopping up its losers and giving them a dodgy occupation….. These short video interviews offer a useful introduction into how the Yakuza operate. Tepco’s relationship with the Yakuza is a cesspool of corruption from the highest to the lowest levels in its organization. “A senior National Police Agency officer, speaking on grounds of anonymity said, ‘TEPCO has a history of doing business with the yakuza that is far deeper than just using their labor.’ 

Adelstein notes that the Yakuza has 86,000 members in Japan, of the 22 major organizations the “Yamaguchi” has almost half of all members. The Yakuza are:

[c]riminal trade associations legally recognized by the Japanese government … They exist out in the open. The Japanese government regulates them and there are laws restricting their behavior but as criminal organizations themselves they are not banned.  It is very difficult for the police to do an investigation that goes all the way up to the top. It’s problems within the Japanese law itself. There’s no plea bargaining, very limited wire tapping, no witness protection program … no undercover work allowed. The Japanese police are never able to destroy the Yakuza.

[T]he nuclear business-industrial-political and media complex in Japan known as the ‘nuclear mafia’ … [the nuclear industry] is a black hole of criminal malfeasance, incompetence, and corruption’ …. The government tacitly recognises their existence, and they are classified, designated and regulated. Yakuza make their money from extortion, blackmail, construction, real estate, collection services, financial market manipulation, protection rackets, fraud and a labyrinth of front companies including labour dispatch services and private detective agencies. They do the work that no one else will do or find the workers for jobs no one wants …. The Fukushima plant is located in the turf of the Sumiyoshi-kai, which is the second largest yakuza group in Japan with roughly 12,000 members……

Working in nuclear power plants in Japan is not considered an honorable and elegant trade, like cabinet making or industrial design, but a brutal, labor intensive experience. While the Yakuza organization itself is an evil, the workers themselves can be considered heroes. The amount of excruciating heat, hard work, physical and mental stress and radiation they endure is inhuman. Even working at a normally functioning reactor is not easy or safe work but the FNPP is highly radioactive.

Fearless Reporter Tells All

Adelstein reviews an astounding new book, The Yakuza and the Nuclear Industry, by undercover Japanese reporter, Tomohiko Suzuki. Suzuki risked his life, due to radiation exposure and possible threats, to bring us the details from the Nuclear Hell Zone. The book reveals scandalous information such as that mentally handicapped people are recruited to work in the nuke plants by the Yakuza. Suzuki compares the Yakuza with Tepco:

Yakuza may be a plague on society … but they don’t ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and irradiate the planet out of sheer greed and incompetence……. Suzuki points out that “Japan’s nuclear mafia … [is a] conglomeration of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the shady nuclear industry, their lobbyists” with the Yakuza at the center. Is Suzuki implying that the Yakuza run the Nuclear Mafia? It is certainly true that Tepco could not fulfill a nuclear workforce without them. According to Adelstein:

As the scale of the catastrophe at Fukushima became apparent, many workers fled the scene. To contain the nuclear meltdown, a handful of workers stayed behind, being exposed to large amounts of radiation: the so-called ‘Fukushima Fifty.’ Among this heroic group, according to Suzuki, were several members of the yakuza …. ‘Almost all nuclear power plants that are built in Japan are built taking the risk that the workers may well be exposed to large amounts of radiation …. That they will get sick, they will die early, or they will die on the job. And the people bringing the workers to the plants and also doing the construction are often yakuza.’

The very workers who are attempting to shore up the situation at FNPP, many of whom are Yakuza, are being blamed by local people in Fukushima for the disaster. A recent survey reported that 30 percent of 1,495 workers at the site suffer from severe mental health issues. The survey does not even include the most exploited workers at the site. …..


September 1, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, politics, Reference

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