AICHI (TR) – Aichi Prefectural Police on Wednesday arrested an employee at a construction company in Nagoya affiliated with organized crime for dispatching a minor to clean up radiation near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, reports the Maincihi Shimbun (Feb. 19).
Officers took Yushi Chiba, 49, into custody for employing a 15-year-old boy from Kita Nagoya to clean leaves and soil contaminated with radiation beginning on July 22 of last year.
On March 11 of 2011, a large earthquake and tsunami damaged the plant, which is operated by Tokyo Electric Power. A number of subsequent meltdowns of reactors caused the release of radiation to the surrounding environment. An extensive cleanup program has been ongoing since the accident.
The boy, who was paid 3,000 yen per day, joined the construction company in April. He performed the work near the nuclear plant on five days, reports Nikkan Sports (Feb. 19). He was reportedly told to not reveal that he was under the age of 18.
Chiba, who has been charged with violating the Labor Standards Act, which prohibits employment of workers under 18 for the cleanup of radiation, has reportedly admitted to the allegations.
The boy resigned from the job at the end of July. His mother then contacted the Nishibiwajima Police Station in September.
Aichi police are now investigating whether Chiba employed other minors to do similar clean-up work. According to the Nagoya Broadcasting Network (Feb. 18), the company employing the suspect is managed by a former organized crime member.