“If workers at the site have a dosimeter and the reading gets too high, they’re prohibited by law from working, so a lot of them don’t take the dosimeters and just get in there,”Kaieda told a TV Tokyo program on July 23. “I respect these people at the site. They’re the pride of Japan,”
Kaieda later backtracked on the comment, telling reporters that he was unsure of exact dates when people entered the reactor zone without dosimeters.
He added, “I was only talking about some courageous people. Nobody’s doing that stuff now. And I would never recommend it.”
Under the Industrial Safety and Health Law workers are obliged to be equipped with dosimeters to measure radiation levels when working at a nuclear reactor during an emergency such as the one at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation since being hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It is illegal for workers at the plant to operate without a dosimeter.
On May 30, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reprimanded Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, for allowing many workers at the plant to work without dosimeters.