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Resident demands city of Fukushima take action after alleged decontamination fraud

fake decontamination may 16 2017.jpgCut bamboo pieces are arranged on a forest floor to make the location appear to have been a bamboo forest, for which companies involved in radiation decontamination work can charge more money.

FUKUSHIMA – A resident of the city of Fukushima filed a complaint Monday demanding the municipality seek the return of ¥12 million from a company that is alleged to have padded its bills for radiation decontamination work by submitting fake photos of bamboo forests, for which cleanup costs are higher.

The city admitted last week that the defunct company — part of a consortium — falsely reported that it worked on a project to clean up radioactive materials from a 2,500-sq.-meter bamboo forest in the city, located about 60 km northwest of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

According to the city, the fee for decontamination work in a normal forest is some ¥500 per sq. meter, but it can rise tenfold for work in bamboo forest where trees are much more difficult to fell.

The company, which closed its doors in March, is alleged to have placed already cut bamboo pieces into the ground on a slope of a hill to make it look like work in a bamboo forest had been completed. It then submitted photos of the site to the consortium.

The legitimacy of disbursement of taxpayers’ money to radiation decontamination work and the city’s ability to check it have come into question,” the attorney for the male complainant said.

A whistleblower notified the city of the alleged wrongdoing in November, according to a city official.

The man who filed the complaint criticized the city for having failed to take action even after it learned of the allegation. The city is considering filing a criminal charge against the company.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/16/national/resident-demands-city-fukushima-take-action-alleged-decontamination-fraud/

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima mulls criminal complaint over fake forest decontamination work

FUKUSHIMA — The municipal government here is considering filing a criminal complaint against parties concerned for allegedly fabricating bamboo forest decontamination work to receive 10 times the normal compensation, it has been learned.

jkmlmùù.jpgOne of the photos that a subcontractor submitted to the city shows a worker carrying a cut bamboo tree. This photo was used multiple times in work reports to make it appear as if the scene was from several different decontamination work sites.

City-commissioned decontamination work was conducted in this city’s Matsukawamachi district after the area was contaminated with radioactive materials emanating from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster. While about 500 yen per square meter is paid to decontaminate forests in affected areas, the reward shoots up to around 5,100 yen per square meter if bamboo forests are involved as it is necessary to cut thick bamboo groves before starting decontamination work.

According to the Fukushima Municipal Government, now-defunct Zerutech Tohoku, a third-tier subcontractor of a joint venture that undertook the decontamination work, fabricated photos to be attached to decontamination work reports as if bamboo trees were felled for the work. The reports were submitted to the city by way of the joint venture, based on which unduly higher amounts of compensation were paid to the organization.

hhkjjllm.jpgShort pieces of bamboo are seen sticking out from the ground in one of the photos that a subcontractor submitted to the city to make it look like bamboo trees had been felled.

 

The joint venture comprised three construction firms based in the city of Fukushima — Hikari Construction Co., Komata Construction Co. and Noko Kensetsu Co. The consortium undertook work to decontaminate areas totaling 185,000 square meters located within 20 meters from residential districts and farmland between September 2014 and March 2016, and received a total of some 620 million yen from the city, according to officials of the city’s decontamination work planning division.

The third-tier subcontractor in question, which was based in the prefectural city of Nihonmatsu, is accused of placing short pieces of bamboo in the ground and photographing them to make it appear as if bamboo trees were felled for decontamination work. The company also fabricated a photograph in which a worker is seen carrying a cut bamboo tree, and used the photo multiple times in work reports by making it appear as though the scene was from several different work sites.

The municipal government uncovered the misconduct in November last year following whistleblowing from a source close to the case, and has since been questioning joint venture officials.

“It was difficult to detect the deliberate falsifications because we checked the work based on papers,” said Takashi Tsuchida, head of the city’s decontamination work planning division.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170511/p2a/00m/0na/018000c

 

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment