Fukushima volunteers are conscious of their amortality via The Guardian

The national workforce divides into two factions, whose respective proportions are beyond calculation. One lot simply can’t wait for the day when retirement brings them release (and will rage at the thought that retirement ages are due to go up). The other dreads the day when it comes and a vacuum ensues. Those who belong in that second category will have reacted above all with envy to the news that some 200 pensioners who have volunteered to help tackle the nuclear crisis at Fukushima are confident that their wish will be granted.

“The skilled veteran corps”, they call themselves, and some restless pensioners would wish to see a similar unit established here. Many find an outlet in some kind of voluntary work, but will fret even so at the thought that skills they’ve acquired over 30 or 40 years must now go to waste. The one uncomfortable truth that deters them from agitating is the knowledge that, especially now, as unemployment climbs, by staying in the jobs they’ve long occupied or by getting selected for fresh ones they would stand in the way of young people with families and building societies to feed. But they also have to recognise a feature in the Japanese situation that mercifully will never affect them. The Fukushima volunteers are offering to carry out work they know to be dangerous, in the hope that younger workers with the same skills can be spared the dangers. Their prime mover, Yasuteru Yamada, who’s 72, also points out that when you are old, malign conditions may develop more slowly.

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