Following the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered hydrogen explosions and meltdowns that spewed large volumes of radioactive material into the atmosphere. Four months later, investigative journalist Suzuki entered the plant as a worker, literally putting his life on the line in order to report on what was going on inside. This book is his account.
There has been speculation for some years that nuclear plants represented a significant source of income for yakuza groups. They often took part in land transactions and negotiations with local fishermen's cooperatives when the plants were first sited and built; and once the plants were up and running, they maintained a hand in the ongoing recruitment of workers. But under the cloak of national energy policy, many questions regarding the full extent of their involvement remained unanswered. With his preliminary reporting on yakuza bosses, the plant manufacturer, and Tepco and its affiliates beginning to bear fruit, the author called on a yakuza connection to get him a job with one of Fukushima Daiichi's subcontractors, and spent approximately one month inside the plant.
The author offers a parade of shocking details. In the panic immediately following the initial accident, Tepco asked the president of a yakuza-affiliated company that was helping with recruitment to find "men who are expendable." There were at least two official members of yakuza groups among the famous "Fukushima 50," who earned the world's gratitude by staying on the job at great personal risk during the immediate crisis. Some of these workers took in over a million yen a month. "As the inconvenient truths that have long been kept hidden in the shadows continue to fester, the yakuza groups that populate those shadows have made a killing. The yakuza and the power plant are in a symbiotic relationship." This is a powerful work of reportage that sounds alarm bells about Japan's relationship with nuclear power.