In May of 2011, over 200 Japanese pensioners came out of retirement to help clean up nuclear waste at the Fukushima Power Station.
For those that don’t know, during an earthquake that hit on March 11, 2011, meltdowns occured in Fukushima, as well as equipment failures and large amounts of radioactive materials was released. This is the largest nuclear disaster since the accident in Chernobyl.
The entire idea began with Yasuteru Yamada, age 72, he was watching the news when he decided that it was time for his generation to help out. He gathered a team of over 200 Japanese seniors, sending emails and tweets to rally them all.
There is still a great deal of political controversy behind this, but Yasuteru Yamada insists that these are not suicide attempts, but rather they are doing this to protect the future generations. Radiation cancer can take over 10 years to fully manifest in a body, and his logic is that, in 10-15 years, he may not even live to see that long. In 10-15 years, the younger workers now, will have a higher risk of being diagnosed with radiation cancer.
Here is a quote from Michio Ito, one of the retirees:
“I don’t think I’m particularly special, most Japanese have this feeling in their heart. The question is whether you step forward, or you stay behind and watch. … We are not kamikaze. The kamikaze were something strange, no risk management there. They were going to die. But we are going to come back. We have to work but never die.”
For more information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13598607