HIRONO, Japan — Almost a year after Japan pledged to double hazard pay at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, workers are still in the dark about how much extra they are getting paid, if anything, for cleaning up the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Under pressure to improve working conditions at Fukushima after a series of radioactive water leaks last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co President Naomi Hirose promised in November to double the hazard pay the utility allocates to its subcontractors for plant workers. That would have increased the amount each worker at the nuclear facility is supposed to earn to about $180 a day in hazard pay.
Only one of the more than three dozen workers interviewed by Reuters from July through September said he received the full hazard pay increase promised by Tepco. Some workers said they got nothing. In cases where payslips detailed a hazard allowance, the amounts ranged from $36 to about $90 a day. In some instances, workers said they were told they would be paid a hazard bonus based on how much radiation they absorb — an incentive to take additional risks at a dangerous work site. Only one worker interviewed by Reuters said he was receiving the promised hazard allowance of $180 per day. Tepco said in a statement to Reuters that it instructs subcontractors to ensure workers' pay is included in all contracts and had recently begun random checks of some of the smaller firms to determine how much of the hazard pay is reaching workers.
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