Doctors: Japan nuclear plant workers face stigma via USA Today

A growing number of Japanese workers who are risking their health to shut down the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant are suffering from depression, anxiety about the future and a loss of motivation, say two doctors who visit them regularly.

But their psychological problems are driven less by fears about developing cancer from radiation exposure and more by something immediate and personal: Discrimination from the very community they tried to protect, says Jun Shigemura, who heads a volunteer team of about ten psychiatrists and psychologists from the National Defense Medical College who meet with Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant employees.

They tell therapists they have been harangued by residents displaced in Japan’s nuclear disaster and threatened with signs on their doors telling them to leave. Some of their children have been taunted at school, and prospective landlords have turned them away.

“They have become targets of people’s anger,” Shigemura told The Associated Press.

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One Response to Doctors: Japan nuclear plant workers face stigma via USA Today

  1. norma field says:

    This article brings to light an important topic, that is, worker well-being, or lack thereof in the cleanup operations. It is seriously flawed, however, by failing to study the consequences of the multilayered (7〜8) subcontracting system. Do all workers wear blue uniforms–even those at the most remote rungs of subcontract? This system provides Tepco cover from any responsibility for worker exposure down the rungs. A look at the subcontracted workers’ problems would be most welcome.

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