April 4 2011 08:29 PM

Japan's crisis offers a glowing opportunity


One of the more interesting yet under-reported stories from the ongoing disaster in Japan is about how the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has ramped up its effort to find workers willing to brave the dangerous conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, damaged by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

The public has become familiar with the “Fukushima 50,” the workers who've been battling non-stop, at tremendous personal risk, to curb the release of radioactive materials into the environment. In fact, the number of workers involved in this grave mission is around 300—they work in shifts of 50 at a time, with groups rotated out to minimize their exposure.

In an anonymous interview with Fox News, the mother of one of the workers says her son and his colleagues are aware of the risk and accept it willingly: They “have discussed it at length and… have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation. He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.”

How can you overstate the heroism and bravery of these workers? Ask yourself under what circumstances you'd enter that plant? Would you do it to save your fellow man, woman and child? Would you do it for a price?

According to the UK Telegraph, with the Fukushima heroes “close to exhaustion,” TEPCO is counting on the latter motivator to get fresh bodies into hazmat suits and into the distressed plant to do battle with the deadly, invisible enemy.

“TEPCO is… offering up to [around $4,800] per day for anyone willing to brave the rigours of the plant—with the employees now being described in the media here as modern-day samurai or ‘suicide squads,'” the Telegraph reported last week.

Through highly satirical means, Presently Tense has obtained the translated job posting for one of the new positions available at TEPCO. Considering California's unemployment rate and the possibility that we'll need experienced workers to battle San Onofre after The Big One hits San Clemente (you might survive), we present this posting, in case you're interested in applying:

JOB TITLE: Custodian / Janitorial Services/Maintenance

DEPARTMENT: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Clean-up Crew

SALARY RANGE: $1,752,000 /year

POSITION INFORMATION: Must be flexible regarding potentially limited duration of employment

PROMOTION POTENTIAL: According to traditional Japanese belief, if you commit suicide, your reikon (soul) will become a “yurei” (ghost) and remain in the physical plain, haunting the Earth until proper rituals are performed, allowing you to join your ancestors.

DUTY LOCATION: Fukushima Prefecture, in the center of the Evacuated Zone

WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Primarily seeking childless, unmarried adults who live lonely lives of quiet despair and would be willing to give their very lives to earn the respect and admiration of the entire world.

JOB SUMMARY: Help transfer hundreds of tons of highly radioactive seawater from underneath damaged nuclear reactors to as yet undetermined locations. Install cables and make repairs to pumping systems to replace radioactive seawater with fresh water in an effort to cool melting nuclear fuel rods in damaged reactors.

QUALIFICATIONS: Nuclear-engineering experience preferred. Short of that, hazardous materials handling of any sort or custodial or handyman work experience would be good. Or, if you've worked as a mascot or Star Wars extra or experimented with the furry lifestyle or done some scuba diving, or have performed any other duty that requires you to be fully enclosed in a hot, stuffy costume for long periods, that would be helpful. Or maybe you once spilled something and had to clean it up or tried to install a cable box or wi-fi router by yourself. Basically, we'll take anybody.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS: A graduate-level degree in engineering is a big plus, but a high-school diploma would indicate the potential to follow simple instructions. Then again, we've known people who never even went to school a single day in their lives, like the father of the plant's director. He was a kamikaze in World War II. He had zero formal education and totally could've handled this job.

EVALUATION: You'll be rated on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the education, experience and training you report, which shows that you possess the knowledge, skills and abilities required. How many fingers am I holding up? If you said “three,” let's talk!

BENEFITS: 400,000 yen per day! That's almost $5,000 a day! If you last a month, you could make, like, 150 grand (before taxes). You could put a down payment on a house in Tokyo with that! Also, we'll cover 100 percent of your medical expenses. If you have a family, they'll be compensated for their eventual loss.

OTHER INFORMATION: You'll be asked to participate in some studies so researchers track your development of cancers related to exposure to radiation. This is yet another way your awesome sacrifice will help people everywhere. With more than 1,000 nuclear generators and thousands of nuclear weapons in the world, we need to be prepared for more shit to go down. 

Finally, if you're worried about dying, please remember that you'll be upholding one Japanese tradition (suicide sacrifice) and helping establish a new one (since 1945, Japan has become the world's foremost nuclear-damage testing ground).              

Write to dak@sdictybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. To contribute to the humanitarian effort in Japan, I
recommend Doctors Without Borders (doctorswithoutborders.org).


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