Nuclear Power Stuff–Foreigners working to clean up Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (?)

Before I get to the topic of this post, I want to mention that that there are not many foreigners living/working in Japan.

Usually, Japanese people themselves do the blue-collar jobs in Japan. However, the population is aging here and there aren’t enough workers, so it’s been decided by the government to bring in workers from foreign countries to do some of these dirty/dangerous/low-paying (etc.) jobs.

The benefit for the foreign worker is that he (I think it’s usually a “he”) can earn more money than he can in his own country. Eventually, he’ll return to his country and he will have more wealth than he would have earned if he had not come to Japan.

Here is an article about this:

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/12/52a397ab6024-update3-japan-parliament-passes-bill-to-accept-more-foreign-workers.html

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So TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company–the owner of the failed power plant Daiichi) must decommision the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. (Clean it up.) It was considering hiring foreigners for this job. A huge problem, however, is that foreigners can be easily exploited (and have been exploited in the past.)

This article is from April 2019

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/04/b839c3aba30f-tepco-eyes-using-foreign-workers-at-crisis-hit-fukushima-daiichi-plant.html

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Here is an editorial written in response:

https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/other/editorial-safety-language-measures-needed-for-foreigners-to-work-at-fukushima-plant/ar-BBWeBuB

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But now, as of May 2019, it’s up in the air whether foreigners will be hired for the decommissioning of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/05/23/national/tepco-wont-hire-foreign-nationals-new-visas-fukushima-nuclear-work-safety-guaranteed/#.XPBv4fZuJhE

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My own opinion?

I agree that if foreigners are hired to help clean the plant, those foreigners will almost certainly be exploited. The foreigners who do these blue-collar type jobs will not know either the English language or the Japanese language and so from a communication point of view, it will be a dangerous undertaking to hire them to work in a high-radiation environment.

In addition, I know from experience as a foreigner in Japan, often I have no idea what’s going on.  Japanese people are not good about informing foreigners of important issues. Japan is very much a We Japanese society, so I can only imagine that TEPCO thinks of these foreign men as expendable. TEPCO won’t say that, of course, but they’ll be thinking it.

TEPCO was responsible for preventing any quake or tsunami from wreaking havoc on the plant. It failed in its duty in March of 2011. TEPCO still owns the plant, but I do not trust TEPCO, not one single bit. So no, I can’t imagine that TEPCO will be considering the best interests of the foreign workers. TEPCO will likely exploit them as much as they can get away with.

 

Nuclear Power Plant Stuff—Fears of Terrorism may lead to shutdowns of power plants (?)

Having been in America, I haven’t been posting much related to the nuclear situation.

By the way, don’t you love the way I worded my title for this post? “Nuclear Power Stuff.” You can tell I have a way with words.

Here’s an article that appeared in my Japanese newspaper for kids (Yomiuri Kodomo Shinubun) on May 2, 2019.

What the article is saying is that nuclear power plants can be vulnerable to terrorism, and thus may be shut down.

Regarding this topic, here is an article from the Mainichi news online: https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190424/p2g/00m/0dm/067000c

Here’s an article from the China Daily about this:

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201904/24/WS5cc04625a3104842260b81d6.html

An opinion piece (editorial) from Asahi Newspaper: http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201904200025.html

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(Totally off topic, but as a student of the Japanese language, I find it fascinating that in the article “uranium” is uran ウラン.

A quck check of a dictionary shows that both uran ウラン and uranium ウラニウム are acceptable translations for the English word “uranium.”)

Another Tokyo video (Inside JR Kamata Station)

Again, five a.m.

In this very short video, discussing how I wish they would improve accessibility in train stations. Many train stations in Japan (though NOT the one in my video, as it’s not a small station) have only stairways. So if one wants to get to one’s train platform, one must scale (or descend) a lengthy flight of stairs. It’s an issue for many people here in Japan, not just for people with leg problems, but also those with heart problems, with breathing problems, parents with babies, people with luggage….all these people may have trouble with the stairs.

My first day back in Japan….video of my hotel’s street (Warning: This is a boring video.)

Every time I return to Japan from the United States, I wake up very early due to jet lag.  This video is taken outside my hotel. I was fascinated by the crows getting into the garbage. We have crows here, too…..but I’ve trained ours to not get into our garbage. They know I’m the boss.

One reference I make in the video is to the American movie “Lost in Translation” with Billy Murray. I watched it, for the first time ever, on the flight. The opening scene is his character being driven in a limousine (he’s an actor getting paid to film a commercial) and he’s looking out at Tokyo, unable to understand the melange of Japanese words around him. It’s a really depressing movie that focusses on two characters who were already depressed before they came to Japan (Hey, not Japan’s fault.)

In reality, most people would be thinking, “Cool! Wow! I’m getting two million dollars for this! For the opportunity to visit Japan!” I’d hope most people would think that.

I want two million dollars.

Recycling (in the U.S.)

Before the triple disaster of 2011 in Japan, I was concerned about the environment. However, after the meltdowns happened–and seeing how this affected not only my family, but all of northern Japan (especially those nearest to the power plant)–I became more actively concerned.

The reason for the existence of nuclear power plants is to supply electricity. (There are other ways of supplying electricity and each has its own issues.) Thus, it is people’s consumption of electricity that is wreaking havoc on the environment.

Other consumptions, like of plastics, are also wreaking havoc.

Being a nation of islands, Japan has always (even before 2011) been stringent about recycling. People here know that recycling is expected and thus routinely do it.

I think the U.S. is catching up with Japan’s mentality regarding recycling. Slowly, but surely. (The U.S. has a lot more land area than Japan which is probably one of the reasons it is more complacent about recycling. America seems to almost have unlimited space for landfills….seems to, anyway.)

These were the recycling bins in the Minneapolis International Airport. I was very pleased with them.

In Japan, I often carry around my thermos (filled with water, only.)

When I travel from Japan to the U.S, I make sure the thermos is empty when I go through security. (Liquids are not allowed to pass through security, except in very small amounts.) Then when I get into the terminal, I simply fill up my thermos at a water fountain. I see so many people purchasing the (EXPENSIVE!) bottles of water that I sort of feel like I am one of the very few people who carries around a thermos.

However, the Minneapolis International Airport supports travellers with thermoses!

Look at the photo above. There is a place to fill up one’s thermos!!  Way to go, Minnesota!

I helped eliminate waste from disposable plastic bottles. Yay me!

 

The bottom photo is the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas:

Texas hasn’t yet built in a water filler for thermoses. That’s okay, though. I just filled up my thermos using water fountain.


I’ve never seen a thermos water filler in Japan, either. However, Japanese people frequently use thermoses. (They also loved to use plastic bottles–of water, tea, juice, soda.) But thermoses are super common.

I do love my thermos. For me, the most important factor is that it doesn’t leak when I shut it. Also, that it’s the right size. (You may just want a very small one to slip in your purse.)

The reason I only use water (or very light tea) is that I find it can be difficult to get strong smells out of a thermos. So I simply don’t do coffee in my thermos.

Thermoses are cool!

 

And so are canteens!

(Photos of thermos and canteen come from Coleman’s site: https://www.coleman.com/coleman-coolersandwaterjugs-drinkware/  This is NOT a paid promotion.)