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A recent Reuters report reveals that a black labor market run by Japanese gangsters, or yakuza, has been using taxpayer funds to clean up radioactive fallout in northern Japan. The gangs have been rounding up homeless men and illegally putting them to work for less than minimum wage. These exploited workers are often charged for food and shelter, which just makes the situation worse when they end up in debt to their employers. Due to the dangerous nature of the job, it’s been hard to find enough workers for the project, which is already running behind schedule and expected to take decades to complete.

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While the government has been cracking down on construction companies to try to address the issue, a lack of oversight has allowed similar incidents to keep occurring one after another. Part of the problem is the sheer scale involved. According to Reuters, a staggering 733 companies are currently performing work for the Ministry of the Environment, so it’s no surprise that the government is having trouble tracking the operations of so many businesses.

In many ways, this is simply an extension of a shady labor market that has always existed in Tokyo and Osaka. Back in the 1960s, day laborers were employed to build Tokyo’s olympic stadium. Given that the companies involved are only being fined about $2,500-$5,000, it’s no surprise that the practice continues.

Via Huffington Post