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Meet The Minimum-Wage Homeless Who Are “Cleaning Up” Fukushima (For The Yakuza) | Zero Hedge

Meet The Minimum-Wage Homeless Who Are “Cleaning Up” Fukushima (For The Yakuza) | Zero Hedge.

We’re an easy target for recruiters,” one homeless man explains. “We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and we’re easy to spot. They say to us, are you looking for work? Are you hungry? And if we haven’t eaten, they offer to find us a job.” As Reuters exposes, 3 years after the earthquake and tsunami that caused the meltdown at Fukushima’s nuclear facility, Northern Japanese homeless are willing to accept minimum wage (from yakuza-based entities) for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.

Via Reuters,

Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.

He isn’t a social worker. He’s a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100a head.

“This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day,”

It’s also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.

In January, October and November, Japanese gangsters were arrested on charges of infiltrating construction giant Obayashi Corp’s network of decontamination subcontractorsand illegally sending workers to the government-funded project.

In the October case, homeless men were rounded up at Sendai’s train station by Sasa, then put to work clearing radioactive soil and debris in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage, according to police and accounts of those involved. The men reported up through a chain of three other companies to Obayashi, Japan’s second-largest construction company.

Obayashi, which is one of more than 20 major contractors involved in government-funded radiation removal projects, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the spate of arrests has shown that members of Japan’s three largest criminal syndicates – Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai – had set up black-market recruiting agencies under Obayashi.

We are taking it very seriously that these incidents keep happening one after another,” said Junichi Ichikawa, a spokesman for Obayashi. He said the company tightened its scrutiny of its lower-tier subcontractors in order to shut out gangsters, known as the yakuza. “There were elements of what we had been doing that did not go far enough.”

Reuters found 56 subcontractors listed on environment ministry contracts worth a total of $2.5 billion in the most radiated areas of Fukushima that would have been barred from traditional public works because they had not been vetted by the construction ministry.

If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn’t move forward. You wouldn’t get a tenth of the people you need,” said Yukio Suganuma, president of Aisogo Service, a construction company that was hired in 2012 to clean up radioactive fallout from streets in the town of Tamura.

There are many unknown entities getting involved in decontamination projects,” said Igarashi, a former advisor to ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan. “There needs to be a thorough check on what companies are working on what, and when. I think it’s probably completely lawless if the top contractors are not thoroughly checking.”

I don’t ask questions; that’s not my job,” Sasa said in an interview with Reuters. “I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That’s it. I don’t get involved in what happens after that.”

“The construction industry is 90 percent run by gangs.”

It would seem, perhaps, that France (and the US) need their own nuclear accident to unleash an employment boom…

 

Looking For Japan’s Radioactive Mutant Army | Zero Hedge

Looking For Japan’s Radioactive Mutant Army | Zero Hedge. (source)

First: we are not suggesting Japan’s army is comprised of radioactive mutants – perhaps just those stationed within 10 kilometers of the Fukushima gift that keeps on giving alpha through gamma rays. We are merely saying that if one takes Abe’s latest deluded ramblings that Japan is “ready to counter China’s power” literally instead of merely more nationalistic bluster by a prime minister whose first term ended in the runs (literally), then the demographically crippled island nation that has a soaring food and energy inflation problem, sliding wages and radiation that comes in 100,000+ RDA dosage increments, would be well advised to have a few invincible X-Men in its army’s ranks if indeed it has any intention of taking on China. Because as Walter Sobchak would say, “this is not Man(churia).”

What else did the not so big man, with the very big ego (supposedly because he thinks doing Goldman’s reflationary bidding helps anyone besides Goldman’s year end bonus pool), say? Some very strange things – from the WSJ:”Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he envisions a resurgent Japan taking a more assertive leadership role in Asia to counter China’s power, seeking to place Tokyo at the helm of countries in the region nervous about Beijing’s military buildup amid fears of an American pullback.” He added that “many nations were concerned that China was  attempting to use force to change the status quo in Asia, adding that  Tokyo’s role as the region’s leader is to urge Beijing not to follow such a path.

Uhm, did he say “Tokyo’s role as the region’s leader“? Precisely in what is Tokyo a leader any more? Imported Chinese smog? Unsolicited gamma radiation? Goughing at the pump? Sex doll sales? That pretty much covers Tokyo’s current leadership areas in the region. Sadly, it is this kind of sociopathological self-delusion (and denial) that is the mark of the Japanese government, and why not only was Fukushima a guaranteed outcome (and has now become the worst radioactive catastrophe in history, nearly three years after the explosion), but why day by day, Japan’s society is slowly sinking into the Pacific. Mostly metaphorically, but also literally.

The absolutely hilarious snippets from the sociopath continue:

 In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with The Journal, Mr. Abe also defended his program of economic reforms against growing criticism that the package lacks substance—though he offered few details of new programs, or a timetable, that anxious foreign investors have been seeking.d

What can one say but LOL. But the funniest stuff was naturally reserved for how this feeble, mutagenic David is approaching the Chinese goliath.

 “There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully,” he added.

“So it shouldn’t take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly assert that. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community.”

Mr. Abe, whom China has criticized as attempting to whitewash Japan’s wartime actions and beef up its military, also said countries in the region shared concerns over Beijing’s arms buildup.

“It’s not just Japan. Many countries have expressed concerns over the increase in China’s military spending which is not transparent,” he said.

Actually it is just Japan, because unlike Japan which still lives in the 80s and thinks it is a superpower, still thinks the Nikkei 30000 is just within reach, still thinks it can restart its 30 or so nukes, still thinks that buying Rock Center was a brilliant idea, and the Walkman and Trinitron are the second coming of the iPod, the other countries in the region know to keep their mouth shut when it’s good for them.

We are far more amused and impressed by China’s resilience to putting Abe in his place. Then again, it is just as easy to bleed Japanese society dry by exchanging China’s massive trade surplus for Japanese labor on ever more-devalued terms.

In retrospect, perhaps it really is not too late for Japan to get that radioactive mutant army, because at the rate things are going that will very soon be its only hope…

 

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