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Fukushima ‘safe’ to host Olympic torch relay: governor

jlmmmFukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori speaks to foreign media on Feb. 18, 2020, in Tokyo

February 19, 2020

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said Tuesday the northeastern Japan prefecture, devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, is safe to host its leg of the Olympic torch relay.

With the Japanese government designating the upcoming Tokyo Games as “Reconstruction Olympics,” the torch relay in the country will kick off on March 26 at J-Village, a football training center in the prefecture that was once an operational base for dealing with the nuclear crisis. Opening matches for Olympic baseball and softball will be played in Fukushima city as well.

“Through this ‘Reconstruction Olympics,’ we would like to show how Fukushima’s reconstruction has progressed in the past nine years as the result of efforts in cooperation with the Japanese government,” the governor told a press briefing in Tokyo.

Holding the Olympic events “doesn’t mean the reconstruction has finished,” he said, adding the prefecture also suffered damage from Typhoon Hagibis, which left a trail of destruction across wide areas of Japan last fall.

The quake and tsunami disasters in northeastern Japan left more than 15,000 people dead and triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl crisis. Typhoon Hagibis in October caused massive floods in Fukushima.

The safety of the torch relay route has been confirmed through constant radiation monitoring, among other measures, Uchibori said.

Late last year, Greenpeace Japan informed the Japanese government and Olympic bodies that radiation hot spots were discovered around J-Village, prompting Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to remove the soil in the affected areas.

In the town of Naraha, one of the municipalities hosting J-Village, only about half of the residents have returned after the evacuation, according to Uchibori.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200219/p2g/00m/0na/024000c

February 23, 2020 - Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , ,

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