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Olympics: Report reveals alleged labor issues at 2020 building sites via Kyodo News

TOKYO-

A report released by a global union federation on Wednesday demanded better conditions for laborers working on the construction of Tokyo Games facilities after several “alarming” alleged labor violations were uncovered.

The report from the Building and Wood Workers’ International titled “The Dark Side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics” is based on interviews with construction workers and documents how low pay, overwork and poor access to grievance mechanisms are creating a “culture of fear” among crews at Olympic projects.

The BWI, headquartered in Geneva, is seeking an end to “dangerous patterns of overwork,” citing the example of construction workers at the National Stadium and Olympic Village who reported being required to work up to 26 and 28 consecutive days, respectively.

“The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was Japan’s opportunity to address some of the long-running gaps within the construction industry in Japan, however, these problems have just got worse,” BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said.

“Wages remain low, dangerous overwork is common, and workers have limited access to recourse to address their issues,” Yuson said.

According to the report, the Japanese construction sector is currently facing an “acute labor shortage,” with 4.3 positions vacant for every construction worker. At the same time, an increase in construction activity has been driven by Japan’s hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Games, as well as ongoing reconstruction efforts in Fukushima.

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