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McDonald’s Wage for Nuclear Job Shows Japan Towns May Fade

A week before becoming ground zero for the world’s biggest nuclear crisis since 1986, the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant offered $11 an hour for full-time maintenance work in an area of Japan that was lagging even before last month’s earthquake and tsunami struck.

The wage, the same as McDonald’s Corp. pays for part-time work in Tokyo, shows the scale of the northern Tohoku region’s economic blight and indicates towns may never recover from the disaster. Almost 28,000 people are dead or missing and 150,000 are homeless in Tohoku, where 25 percent of the population is 65 or older and job seekers outnumber jobs by two-to-one.