Tepco Told To Secure Safety For Foreign Workers

TEPCO told to secure safety for foreign workers

Japan's labor ministry has requested the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to carefully manage the safety of foreigners hired for decommissioning work.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, announced last month that it plans to allow foreigners to work at the facility through Japan's new visa program.

The ministry sent a notice to the utility on Tuesday instructing it to secure a level of safety for foreigners that is at least equal to what is offered to Japanese workers.

It requests that TEPCO manage foreign workers' radiation exposure levels and keep their Japanese language skills in mind when conducting safety training. The ministry has asked the company to deliberate and report back.

Labor Minister Takumi Nemoto told reporters that most foreigner workers in Japan under the new visa program are not used to the country's labor customs, and will return to their countries in about five years.

He said such factors should be taken into account when establishing a safety management system.

Nemoto added that under the current system, extremely cautious deliberation is necessary on whether to have the foreign workers engage in decommissioning and other radiation-related work.