The TEPCO sacred cow linked to crime, and can’t afford justice for its victims – The Atlantic Wire

TEPCO = World’s best nuclear industry according to some Australian nuclear experts.
Kick backs here? Would legit companies sell uranium to the Yakuza?

The Yakuza and the Nuclear Mafia: Nationalization Looms for TEPCO
Jake Adelstein

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the monolithic corporation that controls all electric power in Greater Tokyo, and runs the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant that experienced a triple meltdown following the March 11 earthquake, is on the brink of nationalization according to Japanese government sources. The official reason is that the firm may not be able to handle the massive compensation payments it owes to victims of the meltdown without going bankrupt. Unofficially, the firm has such long-standing ties to anti-social forces, including the yakuza—that some members of the Diet, Japan’s national legislature, feel the firm is beyond salvation and needs to be taken over and cleaned up. A Japanese Senator with the Liberal Democratic Party stated on background, “TEPCO’s involvement with anti-social forces and their inability to filter them out of the work-place is a national security issue. It is one reason that increasingly in the Diet we are talking de facto nationalization of the company. Nuclear energy shouldn’t be in the hands of the yakuza. They’re gamblers and an intelligent person doesn’t want them to have atomic dice to play with.”

In June we reported that yakuza were working at the Fukushima nuclear power plant as cleanup crews and manual labor, but the post-meltdown yakuza ties were only the tip of the iceberg. This month, a new book was published, Yakuza and The Nuclear Industry: Diary of An Undercover Reporter Working at the Fukushima Plant (ヤクザと原発-福島第一潜入記-鈴木-智彦) in which a former yakuza fan magazine editor Tomohiko Suzuki reports on the nuclear business-industrial-political and media complex in Japan known as the “nuclear mafia” and Japan’s actual mafia: the yakuza. The book is already generating controversy and renewed examination of Japan’s “dark empire” and its ties to the underworld. It presents more solid pieces of evidence that Japan’s nuclear industry is a black hole of criminal malfeasance, incompetence, and corruption.

It is not that the industry ties to anti-social forces were previously unknown. Engineers who worked for the firm noted the practice dated of employing yakuza members at nuclear plants dates back to the 1990s. Police sources also recognize that yakuza having been supplying labor to the area for decades. In the Japanese underworld, the nuclear industry is the last refuge for those who have nowhere to go. One yakuza explains it as folk wisdom, “Otoko wa Genpatsu, Onna was Seifuzoku・男は原発、女は性風俗”–, in other words, “When a man is has to survive doing something, it’s the nuclear industry; for a woman, it’s the sex industry.”

The Fukushima plant is located in the turf of the Sumiyoshi-kai, which is the second largest yakuza group in Japan with roughly 12,000 members; it has a well-known office in Tokyo’s Ginza District and operates under the banner Hama Enterprise. One mid-level executive in the organization even defends the role of his members in the Fukushima disaster. “The accident isn’t our fault,” he said. “It’s TEPCO’s fault. We’ve always been a necessary evil in the work process. In fact, if some of our men hadn’t stayed to fight the meltdown, the situation would have been much worse. TEPCO employees and the Nuclear Industry Safety Agency inspectors mostly fled; we stood our ground.”

However, while the symbiotic relationship between TEPCO and the yakuza has existed for decades, the relationship is officially “unacceptable.” The controversy became so great after the accident that TEPCO pledged on July 19 to try to keep yakuza members from participating in the reconstruction of the power plant and related projects. They have been working with the Japanese National Police Agency (JNPA) to accomplish this but sources inside that agency are dubious as to whether there have been any real results. TEPCO officials met with the National Police Agency and 23 subcontractors in July and created a conference group on organized crimes issues according to government sources and they have met several times since. TEPCO explained at the time, “we want to people to widely know our exclusionary stance towards organized crime.”

According to TEPCO and police sources, since the reconstruction project has picked up speed, the number of workers has dramatically increased to several thousand. The JNPA has directed TEPCO from as early as June, to keep the yakuza out—although many of the subcontractors of the subcontractors are known yakuza front companies. Over 140 workers have been found to have used fake names when getting jobs doing reconstruction work and are presently unaccounted for. In reporting for Yakuza and the Nuclear Industry Tomohiko Suzuki was able to get into the reactor as a cleanup worker under false pretenses partly by using organized crime connections. According to Suzuki, three of the fabled “Fukushima Fifty” who stayed behind during the most dangerous days of high-level radiation leaks were local yakuza bosses and soldiers. He does not specify which groups they belonged to.


Even before the meltdown, it was very common for TEPCO to use temporary staffing firms that that would ultimately outsource work to organized crime front companies such as M-Kogyo in Fukuoka Prefecture and Yokohama which is backed by the Kudo-kai (工藤会). Organized crime groups from Kyushu are bringing workers as well. Many of the workers are homeless people, debtors to yakuza loan sharks, or former yakuza who have been expelled from their group.

In fact, in May, TEPCO’s Public Relations Department, when asked by this reporter, if TEPCO’s contracts with subcontractors have what are now standard “organized crime exclusionary clauses” (暴力団排除条項), a spokesperson replied, “We don’t have them standardized into our contracts. We don’t check or demand that our subcontractors have them in their contracts. We are considering doing so in the future.”

TEPCO has not responded to recent requests for clarification on any changes. or whether they have fully implemented the Japanese government issued guidelines for corporations who wish to avoid doing business with organized crime. TEPCO also refused to name the companies they use for outsourcing labor, background security checks, and general security at the nuclear power plants, “because to do so would be in non-compliance with personal privacy information protection laws.”

At the conferences with the police, TEPCO was supposed to share information with the police, learn the proper methods of dealing with organized crime shakedowns, and study how to do the paperwork to require the subcontractors to exclude organized crime from their businesses. However, TEPCO will probably not be held responsible for the second or third tier firms to which the work is further subcontracted. A senior National Police Agency officer, speaking on grounds of anonymity said, “I doubt these meetings with TEPCO have produced any great results. TEPCO has a history of doing business with the yakuza that is far deeper than just using their labor. Under the new laws that went into effect on October 1st, providing capital or profits to anti-social forces becomes a crime. The TMPD (Tokyo Metro Police Department) may have to issue TEPCO a warning. After the warning, there could be arrests.”

The same source noted that a TEPCO employee was arrested for insurance fraud along with a Sumiyoshi-kai member in May of this year but there was no evidence that TEPCO itself or any other TEPCO employees were involved in the crime. It only indicated that at least one TEPCO employee had organized crime connections. In January of 2003, it was reported that TEPCO had been making pay offs to the Sumiyoshi-kai for over twenty years via leasing plants and buying green tea from them. TEPCO also allegedly paid an Yamaguchi-gumi associate and former member, Takeuchi Yoichi, several thousand dollars to stop writing about safety problems at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in the 1990s. As Isao Mori reports in the recently published book Dirty Money (泥のカネ), after Mizutani Construction was named a sub-contractor on TEPCO’s Fukushima nuclear reactor waste disposal project, it paid Takeuchi’s front company “consulting fees” of around \120 million (roughly $1.5 million). The same firm also allegedly paid over a million dollars in under the table political donations to Ichiro Ozawa, former “kingpin” of Japan’s ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan. (Ozawa is currently on trial for violations of the political funds control law.) Mizutani Construction executives have admitted in court that it was standard practice to pay off local yakuza groups and politicians to obtain construction contracts, including those in the nuclear industry.

One National Police official responsible for the Fukushima District said Takeuchi and his involvement with TEPCO were well known among law enforcement. “I know the name very well. There are credible reasons to believe that he shook down TEPCO in the past and he has certainly been the beneficiary of contracts related to Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant construction. Whether TEPCO was victimized by him or the relationship was more symbiotic, I can’t say.”

Police and underworld sources also allege that a Matsuba-kai related front company is handling waste disposal at TEPCO plants and that TEPCO executives as recently as this summer were going on golfing jaunts with Matsuba-kai members. The Matsuba-kai is one of the ten largest yakuza groups in Japan with a strong presence in Tokyo but not a major powerhouse.

The Inagawa-kai, the third largest organized crime group in Japan, with offices across from the Tokyo Ritz Carlton has also been involved in the reconstruction efforts. Most of the yakuza involvement is in procuring workers to do the jobs of laying pipes and cleaning up debris while being exposed to high levels of radiation. The yakuza bring the laborers there but do not labor there. However, heavy constructions and other work is being done by yakuza front companies or firms with strong yakuza ties.

When asked what were the major differences between the yakuza and TEPCO the same Senator paused for a minute. “The primary difference between TEPCO and the yakuza is they have different corporate logos.” He explained, “They both are essentially criminal organizations that place profits above the safety and welfare of the residents where they operate; they both exploit their workers. On the other hand, the yakuza may care more about what happens where they operate because many of them live there. For Tokyo Electric Power Company, Fukushima is just the equivalent of a parking lot.”

Jake Adelstein is an investigative journalist, consultant, and the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan. He is also a board member of the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project Japan, which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the sex trade.
end quote.

How much of the vastly excess plutonium have criminal elements working under the cover of TEPCO sold to Iran and other rogue states and terrorist groups? What does this mean for “Australian obligated plutonium” – plutonium made from Australian uranium sold to Tepco and extracted from the spent fuel rods? What has this to do with the vast quantities of spent fuel and the suspected plutonium processing plant at Fukushima? Is North Korea an enemy or a trade partner in Japanese produced plutonium? No Australian politican has the gonads to ask these questions. Where is all the plutonium produced by TEPCO? Recalling an earlier Mainichi Daily News article which explained that the US facilitated the Japanese nuclear industry in order to counter growing Communist nuclear expansion in the 1950s, that paper explained that the US deliberately a former Unit 731 member and war criminal to promote nuclear power to the Japanese population after the Castle Bravo disaster of 1954.

The ties with criminals in the Japanese nuclear industry were there at the beginning, paid for by the USA. I’ll dig the article up. It is not surprising therefore that organised crime is present in TEPCO. It has always been part of the nuclear culture. In Australia, it started with the lies told by the Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee. Lies upon which concepts of nuclear safety are still based. For example, slag, rich in radium, from the old Radium Hill uranium mine was used as ballast gravel on the Australian Trans-Continental Railway. Rail gangs have never been treated as radiation workers and the effect of this practice years has had an unknown effect on their health.

The nuclear industry itself is criminal for it knows the truth and suppresses it. Australian nuclear experts deliberately aided TEPCO in making statements which minimised the multi-reactor failure, failing to admit the full range of radionuclides released, and for aiding in the weeks long delay in admitting that triple meltdown had occurred. No Australian nuclear industry expert has questioned the culture of TEPCO, nor the excess spent fuel burden at Fukushima.

It’s more than hiding the high level waste problem in Japan. It’s about the potential criminal use of controlled substances subject to international control agreements and its been going on for decades. Only in the last month has the IAEA been forced to “voice concern”. Yet, Australia is still happy to cooperate with this corrupt and unsafe nuclear culture and is indeed therefore part of it. In my opinion.

During the Occupation of Japan and until the signing of the American – Japan Peace Treaty which came into effect April 28 1952. (The Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the Treaty of San Francisco or San Francisco Peace Treaty), between Japan and part of the Allied Powers, was officially signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, California. It came into force on April 28, 1952.

(This treaty served to end officially World War II, to end formally Japan’s position as an imperial power, and to allocate compensation to Allied civilians and former prisoners of war who had suffered Japanese war crimes. This treaty made extensive use of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to enunciate the Allies’ goals.

This treaty, along with the Security Treaty signed that same year, is said to mark the beginning of the “San Francisco System”; this term, coined by historian John W. Dower, signifies the effects of Japan’s relationship with the United States and its role in the international arena as determined by these two treaties and is used to discuss the ways in which these effects have governed Japan’s post-war history. Source:

During the occupation of Japan up until that time, the US sought to suppress the Left Wing in Japan as a means of achieving its aim of containing communist influence. Ironically, the primary resistence to the Japanese Fascism during World War 2 came from the Japanese Left Wing. The role of individual Japanese who acted as spies against this fascism in Japan for the West were left wing and are unknown by history. The upshot was that at after the surrender document was signed in 1945 up until the end of Occupation and US administration of Japan, only the right wing was facilitated by the US. One important fact which emerged from this was the rewarding, by cash and appointment to executive positions, of Japanese individuals who, during the war, engaged in “special weapons” development. This included members of Unit 731.

The US has the Eagle as its symbol. Every eagle needs both its left and right wing to fly. This was ignored by the US in Japan, which was condemned to fly in circles around the bidding of the Occupation Administration. As it has done ever since. Prior to the great disaster in Japan in 2011, a site of importance had been found in Tokyo. A burial ground of Unit 731 medical experiment victims. Excavation of the site was to begin, there was wide press coverage and then the disaster happened. And it seems forgotten about.

However, the cultural inclusion of right wing criminal elements was aided by the Occupation and by subsequent US and Western policy toward Japan. And that is why today TEPCO is infected with this same criminal culture. I’m sure Communists, the target of the policy originally, must be quaking in their boots. Not. It’s the people of Japan who are paying the price. For further information see the writings of Dr David Palmer, Flinders University South Australia.

The truth of the matter may well lie in the Mitsubishi archives, Tokyo, just down the road from the Unit 731 site. And the company to which some former Unit 731 members were appointed as Executives as reward for their sharing their human chemical, biological, and radiological (x raying subjects unto death) data with the USA. And if that’s unbelievable, see 106th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1902

To require disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act regarding certain persons and records of the Japanese Imperial Army in a manner that does not impair any investigation or prosecution conducted by the Department of Justice or certain intelligence matters, and for other purposes.


November 10, 1999

Mrs. FEINSTEIN introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To require disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act regarding certain persons and records of the Japanese Imperial Army in a manner that does not impair any investigation or prosecution conducted by the Department of Justice or certain intelligence matters, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled….

The main aim of the Bill was to preserve and catalogue the NBC records taken by the USA from Japan and used in its own Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons programs. The documents ended up spread far and wide, from Dugway Proving Ground, to the Pentagon, to the Library of Congress. Many were being destroyed, a concern to historians. The Bill orders their preservation and their inclusion in the Library of Congress. There are so many such documents that even today, many remain in piles, with insuficient staff time to allow speedy cataloging.

So you see, even though I have had readers complain to me that I use old documents as my sources, and that I should concentrate on modern stuff issued by nuclear industry, the fact of the matter is, if you really want to understand the present, and so control the future, you must know and understand, as well as one can, the past. It is in the interests of the USA for this to be forgotten. The Nuremberg Principles forbid the use of German Nazi human research data.

The same does not apply to the same data originated by the Nazis in Japan. And so it is used to this very day. The main subjects were US POWS, Chinese civilians and others in South East Asia during Imperial Japan’s occupation of South East Asia and China. China has never forgotten, and Japan has never fully owned up. The Right Wing in Japan, as set up by the Occupation Administration, has a view of historoy which serves the forgetting of history. That criminials form a significant part of Japan’s nuclear culture is a direct result of deliberate decisions taken in the past aimed at creating an unbalanced political system in Japan. In my opinion. Such imbalance exists today. This imbalance directly led to the failures of TEPCO and Jgov in managing the nuclear disaster, in the failure to properly monitor food, and in the failure to fully evacuate Fukushima fallout affected areas of Japan. The experiments continue, in my view, today in Fukushima. The “Keepers of Flame” made burn so hot that it melted uranium in 3 reactors. Who is being kept warm now? The Free World or it enemies? Is Japan free when criminals were encouraged and rewarded, and opposing views suppressed? History is a constant line. Today is the result of yesterday, and the day before than, ad infinitum. Ignore history, repeat it.

Pretty soon there should be an Imperial US NRC -TEPCO data preservation act, so that in future people will be to learn what really went on, is going on, and what the local and global consequences were, are and will be.

I’m just one voter though. My opinions don’t amount to much of a hill of beans.

Lest we forget.

other snippets:
Japanese Legislator Takes Dare, Drinks from Fukushima Puddle

CIA Dubs Its WikiLeaks Task Force ‘WTF’

‘The yakuza fared well under the American occupation. The American military disarmed the citizenry but weren’t able to disarm the criminal underworld. As a result the yakuza ran roughshod over the law-abiding populace. While the Americans jailed some crime figures, one man was actually working with the intelligence community to combat Communism. His name was Yoshio Kodama and he is recognized as the liaison between the gangsters, spies, and politicians.’ The Yakuza by Scott M. Deitche

“For historian John W. Dower,

Even Japanese peace activists who endorse the ideals of the Nuremberg and Tokyo charters, and who have labored to document and publicize Japanese atrocities, cannot defend the American decision to exonerate the emperor of war responsibility and then, in the chill of Cold war, release and soon afterwards openly embrace accused right-wing war criminals like the later prime minister Kishi Nobusuke.[31] In retrospect, apart from the military officer corps, the purge of alleged militarists and ultranationalists that was conducted under the Occupation had relatively small impact on the long-term composition of men of influence in the public and private sectors. The purge initially brought new blood into the political parties, but this was offset by the return of huge numbers of formally purged conservative politicians to national as well as local politics in the early 1950s. In the bureaucracy, the purge was negligible from the outset… In the economic sector, the purge similarly was only mildly disruptive, affecting less than sixteen hundred individuals spread among some four hundred companies. Everywhere one looks, the corridors of power in postwar Japan are crowded with men whose talents had already been recognized during the war years, and who found the same talents highly prized in the “new” Japan.[32]” Wikipedia

“According to David M. Rosenfeld:

Not only did Occupation censorship forbid criticism of the United States or other Allied nations, but the mention of censorship itself was forbidden. This means, as Donald Keene observes, that for some producers of texts “the Occupation censorship was even more exasperating than Japanese military censorship had been because it insisted that all traces of censorship be concealed. This meant that articles had to be rewritten in full, rather than merely submitting XXs for the offending phrases.”
—Donald Keene, quoted in Dawn to the West” ibid.

I can find nothing on the net about Western intelligence assets in Japan during World War 2. I doubt that there were none.
This is in contrast to the celebration of German nationals who provided intelligence against Germany to the West.

The whole area of the Japanese resistence to the WW2 military dictatorship of Japan – whether fascism should be applied to it or not (I think it should.) – seems unreported in the available information. As far as I can see.
The reference found so far is this

“Sorge’s Spy is Brought in From the Cold. A Soviet-Okinawan Connection

Edan Corkill with an introduction by Chalmers Johnson

Long reviled in his homeland and all but forgotten by Moscow, an Okinawan former Soviet agent in Tokyo is finally accorded the recognition and respect that his devoted niece has sought for so long

Introduction: The Case of Miyagi Yotoku”

In as much as individuals resisting government might be evidence by their cooperatio with foriegn powers, the case illustrates that Miyagi Yotoku was instrumental in “one of history’s most successful spy rings” against the Japanese military dictatorship.

I find it hard to believe that he was the only one. I find most probable that internal resistence to the Japanese military dictatorship did exist. If it did not, then the infamous “Toku” (thought police) would not have been needed.

While German nationals seeking to undermine German fascism are celebrated and well documented (eg nothing of known their Japanese equivalents.

It is as if, after the war, the Allied desire for Japanese technical data exceeded its desire for justice.

Lastly, this lack of complete history gives rise to the policies which set in motion the construction of the Japanese nuclear industry.

5 Responses to “The TEPCO sacred cow linked to crime, and can’t afford justice for its victims – The Atlantic Wire”

  1. Christina MacPherson Says:

    Bravo to this blog for publicising this extraordinary report on the corruption in the Japanese nuclear industry.
    It’s a pity that Jake Edelstein’s investigative journalism on this issue comes to light at a holiday period, when it might have been missed by many people who should know about it. But perhaps now, they will pick up the story here.

    It would be naive to think that Tepco and Japan are the only companies and countries where the nuclear industry is linked with corruption and with the involvement of organised crime.
    The nuclear industry, because of its special dangers, is by nature a secretive industry. Wherever there’s secrecy, there is the likelihood of corruption..

    The Japanese nuclear industry shows exactly how easy it is, perhaps inevitable, for those involved in this secrecy to become corrupt.

  2. nuclearhistory Says:

    “It would be naive to think that Tepco and Japan are the only companies and countries where the nuclear industry is linked with corruption and with the involvement of organised crime.
    The nuclear industry, because of its special dangers, is by nature a secretive industry. Wherever there’s secrecy, there is the likelihood of corruption..

    The Japanese nuclear industry shows exactly how easy it is, perhaps inevitable, for those involved in this secrecy to become corrupt.” says Christina. I concur and reading Nader and Abbot and looking at the history of suppression of nuclear knowledge, history shows that Japan is not unique in this regard. The very process that enabled the approval of the reactors in Japan happened against reams of scientific and technical disssent which was thwarted by big business in cahoots with legislators in the US.

    At that time, the dissenters were labelled antiAmerican. The foreseen disaster manifest in March 2011 could have been avoided had dissenting views been taken into account. It’s the same here and everywhere, as far as I can see. The point is, this situation is not Japanese, it’s anti-nuclear. The bullying of Japanese dissenters over decades looks like it may pause or throttle back for a while.

    Which doesnt solve the poisoning of Japan by corruption dressed up as a science ordinary people are not supposed to be able to understand sufficiently to vote on. The pollies and industry may well have been surprised by the response of the people of Japan and the world.

  3. nuclearhistory Says:

    Thanks Whoopie, but I have my limits. Christina’s blog is worth a look.

    Follow a few of her links and give me some more hits

    (ha ha)

  4. A Pro-nuke person asks “Well, it’s pretty much establishe­d that there were no plutonium releases from the (fuk) reactors…. « Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog Says:

    […] in the article I cite at… the group specifically mentioned is […]

Comments are closed.