Tepco: No Foreigners On Decommissioning For Now

TEPCO: No foreigners on decommissioning for now

Tokyo Electric Power Company has put on hold its plans to hire foreigners under a new type of work visa in decommissioning work at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

TEPCO earlier announced that for its decommissioning work it would hire foreigners under Japan's new visa program that began last month.

The company was instructed by the labor ministry on Tuesday to carefully manage the safety of foreign workers if they were hired.

The ministry told TEPCO to manage foreign workers' radiation exposure levels and conduct safety training by keeping in mind possible difficulties in communication in Japanese.

On Wednesday, TEPCO told the labor ministry that it has decided not to hire such foreign workers for the time being.

TEPCO now says it needs time to establish safety and public hygiene arrangements for workers who are unfamiliar with the Japanese language and working customs. It also cited concern that workers who have no special knowledge about radiation could be at risk of accidents on the job or health problems.

More than 4,000 workers are now involved in reactor decommissioning at the Fukushima plant. TEPCO says it faces no immediate labor shortage.