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Japan’s Yoshitaka Sakurada resigns as Olympics minister

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11 April 2019
Japan’s Olympics Minister Yoshitaka Sakurada has resigned over comments that offended people affected by a huge tsunami and earthquake in 2011.
At a fund-raising event, he suggested that backing the governing LDP member of parliament for the region was more important than its economic revival.
It is not the first time Mr Sakurada has been forced to apologise.
He said in February that he was disappointed by a Japanese swimmer’s leukaemia diagnosis.
He said he was worried that medal favourite Rikako Ikee’s illness might dampen enthusiasm for next year’s Olympics.
Mr Sakurada also admitted last year to never having used a computer, despite being Japan’s cyber security minister.
After accepting Mr Sakurada’s resignation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologised for appointing him.
“I deeply apologise for his remark to the people in the disaster-hit areas,” said Mr Abe.
The 2011 tsunami left more than 20,000 dead and caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Shunichi Suzuki, who had been Olympics minister before Mr Sakurada was appointed last October, will return to the post.
In February Mr Sakurada had to make another apology, after arriving three minutes late to a parliamentary meeting.
Opposition MPs said his poor timekeeping showed disrespect for his office and boycotted a meeting of the budget committee for five hours in protest.
He also came under fire in 2016 for describing so-called comfort women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese war-time troops as “professional prostitutes”.
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April 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

“Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics”

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Tomorrow in one year, on March 26 2020, the Olympic torch relay will start in the radioactively contaminated Fukushima Prefecture. This is why tomorrow, a group of anti-nuclear oranizations in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan will launch an international information campaign entitled „Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics”. The campaign will focus on the ongoing radioactive contamination of parts of Japan due to the nuclear catastrope of Fukushima, which began eight years ago.
Dr. Alex Rosen, chairman of the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), one of the principal organizations behind the campaign explains: „We are concerned about the health consequences of radioactive contamination, especially for people with increased vulnerability towards radiation, such as pregnant women and children.“
International regulations limit the permitted dose for the general public of additional radiation following a nuclear accident to 1 mSv per year. “In areas where evacuation orders were recently lifted, the returning population will be exposed to levels up to 20 mSv per year, however”, says IPPNW physician and founding member of the campaign, Dr. Jörg Schmid. “Even places that have undergone extensive decontamination efforts could be recontaminated at any time by unfavourable weather conditions, as mountains and forests serve as a continuous depot for radioactive particles. Now the Japanese authorities are trying to force the people evacuated from the contaminated areas to return by cutting their financial assistance and ending housing schemes for nuclear refugees,” says Schmid.
The campaign, which will continue all the way until the end of the Olympic Games, has a clear message: We denounce the attempt of the Japanese government to pretend that normality has returned to the contaminated regions of Japan”, says Rosen. “Already now, we are seeing an increased rate of thyroid cancers in Fukushima children and adolescents. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. More than 50,000 nuclear refugees continue to live as displaced persons in their own country. At the same time, more and more radioactive refuse is seeping into groundwater and the ocean and the decontamination and reconstruction work is largely carried out by unskilled and uninformed subcontractors, without proper training or protection. Normality looks different.“

Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics

In 2020, Japan is inviting athletes from around the world to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games. We are hoping for the games to be fair and peaceful. At the same time, we are worried about plans to host baseball and softball competitions in Fukushima City, just 50 km away from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. It was here, in 2011, that multiple nuclear meltdowns took place, spreading radioactivity across Japan and the Pacific Ocean – a catastrophe comparable only to the nuclear meltdown of Chernobyl.

The ecological and social consequences of this catastrophe can be seen everywhere in the country: whole families uprooted from their ancestral homes, deserted evacuation zones, hundreds of thousands of bags of irradiated soil dumped all over the country, contaminated forests, rivers and lakes. Normality has not returned to Japan. The reactors continue to be a radiation hazard as further catastrophes could occur at any time. Every day adds more radioactive contamination to the ocean, air and soil. Enormous amounts of radioactive waste are stored on the premises of the power plant in the open air. Should there be another earthquake, these would pose a grave danger to the population and the environment. The nuclear catastrophe continues today. On the occasion of the Olympic Games 2020, we are planning an international campaign. Our concern is that athletes and visitors to the games could be harmed by the radioactive contamination in the region, especially those people more vulnerable to radiation, children and pregnant women.

According to official Japanese government estimates, the Olympic Games will cost more than the equivalent of 12 billion Euros. At the same time, the Japanese government is threatening to cut support to all evacuees who are unwilling to return to the region. International regulations limit the permitted dose for the general public of additional radiation following a nuclear accident to 1 mSv per year. In areas where evacuation orders were recently lifted, the returning population will be exposed to levels up to 20 mSv per year. Even places that have undergone extensive decontamination efforts could be recontaminated at any time by unfavourable weather conditions, as mountains and forests serve as a continuous depot for radioactive particles. Our campaign will focus on educating the public about the dangers of the nuclear industry. We will explain what health threats the Japanese population was and is exposed to today. Even during normal operations, nuclear power plants pose a threat to public health – especially to infants and unborn children. There is still no safe permanent depository site for the toxic inheritance of the nuclear industry anywhere on earth, that is a fact.

We plan to use the media attention generated by the Olympic Games to support Japanese initiatives calling for a nuclear phase-out and to promote a worldwide energy revolution: away from fossil and nuclear fuels and towards renewable energy generation. We need to raise awareness of the involvement of political representatives around the world in the militaryindustrial complex. We denounce the attempt of the Japanese government to pretend that normality has returned to the contaminated regions of Japan. We call on all organisations to join our network and help us put together a steering group to coordinate this campaign. The Olympic Games are still two years away – now is still time to get organised. We look forward to hearing from you, with best regards,

For the campaign „Nuclear Free Olympic Games 2020“:
Annette Bänsch-Richter-Hansen
Jörg Schmid
Henrik Paulitz
Alex Rosen

Supportes of the Campaign „Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics“
antiatom-fuku
German-Japanase Community Dortmund
IPPNW-Dortmund
Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba)
Fukushima Collaborative Clinic
Granny Peace Brigade, NYC
IPPNW Deutschland
IPPNW / PSR SchweizNo Nukes Asia Forum Japan
Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World
NAZEN (National Conference for the immediate closure of all nuclear power plants)
Preserving Deciduous Teeth Netowork (PDTN)
Sayonara Nukes Berlin
Sayonara Nukes Düsseldorf
Strahlentelex
Veterans for Peace – NYC ChapterVivres après Fukushima
“We are hoping for the games to be fair and peaceful. At the same time, we are worried about plans to host baseball and softball competitions in Fukushima City, just 50 km away from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.”
pdf of excellent info Flyer here, for you to download & share…
If you are interested, please contact us at olympia2020[at]ippnw.de 

March 31, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | 3 Comments

10 Reasons You Might Want to Think Twice about the Tokyo Olympics

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March 23, 2019
Sure, the Olympics/Paralympics deliver thrilling races, stunning performances and inspiring stories… But they also steal green space and leave mountains of trash, require massive human displacement (gentrification on steroids) and worker abuse (including athlete exploitation), enforce the gender binary, promote noisy nationalism, high-tech surveillance, corruption and cost overruns.
So what’s unique about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?  It’s happening with a Declaration of Nuclear Emergency, issued March 11, 2011, still in place. Then why is Japan spending astronomical sums for the Games? Because these Games are supposed to show the world that the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is a thing of the past, that Japan is roaring and ready for business. Should we go along with that agenda? Here are ten issues for you to consider:
1.     Eight years and counting, Tepco, the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, still lacks a viable plan for dealing with the fuel cores that not only “melted down” but “melted through” the heavy steel pressure vessel and landed …where?
2.     To keep the site “under control,” the plant uses massive amounts of water daily. The result? Tank after tank of contaminated water, with leaks and releases, exposing workers and the surrounding environment – including the Pacific Ocean. Factor recurring earthquakes into that mix.
3. The Japanese government has spent huge sums to corporations to “decontaminate” – moving radioactive contaminants instead of getting people away from harm. Their method involves bagging yard waste and topsoil, resulting in seas of neatly stacked black plastic bags. And just think: 70 % of Fukushima consists of forests and mountains – which by definition cannot be decontaminated. Moreover, the government even wants to reuse contaminated soil.
4.     Decontamination can reduce radiation levels to a degree, for a limited time and space. But, every part of the process – hosing down, trimming, digging, bagging, burying, re-digging, transporting, reusing – subjects workers to the risk of exposure. Not surprisingly, many of them are Fukushima residents who lost their livelihoods in the 2011 disaster.
5.     Radioactivity itself is invisible. In Fukushima, strange white columns called “monitoring posts” for measuring airborne radiation have become an awkward feature of the landscape. The government wants to get rid of them. Local residents insist that the disaster is not over and that the government needs to be looking after its people—not hosting a sports extravaganza that benefits an elite few.
6.     People who fled radiation—often women with children—knew all too well from the beginning the absurdity of the Games being hosted in Tokyo. Their existence is now being erased, with the government cutting off housing aid and opening up mandatory evacuation zones it deems safe for return. What’s “safe” for the Japanese government is 20 times looser than international standards.
7.     The mandated evacuation zone in Fukushima was too narrow in the first place, and many areas including parts of Tokyo should be designated “radiation-controlled areas,” where you’d have to be trained in radiation occupational safety and wear personal protective equipment.
8. The Japanese government and the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC), with the implicit collaboration of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have concealed or distorted data inconvenient not just for declaring an end to the disaster but for continuing with the national nuclear program. In fact, the Games are a key weapon in suppressing information on radiation and health effects. In the only large-scale health study conducted on the nuclear disaster, the government consistently denies a link between radiation and people’s health, despite a striking increase of thyroid cancer among children and youths.
9.     The JOC claims that airborne radiation levels in Fukushima and Tokyo are no higher than those in other world cities. But radionuclides move around, and there are many radioactive waste storage sites close to Olympic venues, in addition to “hotspots” with highly radioactive contaminants carried by the wind and distributed unevenly throughout eastern Japan.
10.  The JOC has chosen sites in Fukushima for the Olympic softball and baseball games. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. To make sure we get the point, the Olympic torch relay will begin in Fukushima, just 20km (12 miles) south of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are a disaster coverup.
Is that something you want to be part of?
Statement drafted by NoTokyo2020, an informal collective standing in solidarity with the people of Fukushima and other disaster-affected areas, both those who have left and those who have stayed on.
Image courtesy of 281_Anti nuke

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Swimming Great and 2020 Tokyo Olympics Hopeful diagnosed with Leukemia cancer

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NEW YORK – March 22, 2019 – PRLog — Rikako Ikee, Japan’s reigning national record holder in multiple swimming events and record-setting winner of 6 gold and 2 silver medals at the recent Asian Games has been diagnosed with cancer in the form of Leukemia.
 
Author of “Fukushima 311: Is the enduring aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster killing off the Earth?” Col. Walter T. Richmond was saddened to learn the news, and expressed his sincerest best wishes that Ikee is able to beat the disease since doctors apparently discovered it in its earlier stages.
 
In light of the serious news, Richmond revisited his health warnings surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He said “Ikee would have been about 10 or 11 years old at the time of the original Fukushima nuclear disaster. She’s also a native of Tokyo, and Japanese citizen scientists have reportedly found radioactive materials all over Japan, including Tokyo.”
 
Author Richmond pointed out that since “the health effects and cancers from nuclear radiation exposure can take years to manifest, chances are people won’t get sick immediately, if ever. But why would anyone roll the dice on their health? The research we did for this book paints a very disturbing radioactive picture compared to the apparent marketing hype coming out of Japan.”
 
That the authorities were often not forthcoming or transparent about the gravity of the actual crisis has Richmond equally concerned, saying, “After the anomalies we found during our Fukushima 311 research, plus the serious concerns and red flags raised by the United Nations recently, we have little faith in official claims that ‘all is well’ that aren’t corroborated by independent outside sources. The time to ask hard questions is now, not after the 2020 Olympics.”
 
Richmond ended by, yet again, calling for an impartial international team of highly-specialized scientists and doctors to determine the actual radiation safety levels in and around the 2020 Olympic facilities, in Tokyo and the Olympic ball fields in Fukushima, as well as the surrounding areas likely to be visited by athletes, guests, and spectators.

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

‘Recovery Olympics’ moniker for 2020 Games rubs 3/11 evacuees the wrong way

n-ishinomaki-a-20190311-870x580.jpgA cauldron used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics is displayed in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Feb. 19 as a symbol of what the government is dubbing the “Recovery Olympics.”

 

March 10, 2019

The central government hopes the quadrennial sports event will serve as a platform to show that the nation has recovered from the disasters.

But recovery wasn’t one of the original themes for the Tokyo Games. The concept was added when it became apparent Tokyo wouldn’t be able to secure all the venues needed in the capital or its vicinity. When organizers thus turned to the disaster-hit prefectures of Miyagi and Fukushima, which will host the softball and baseball games, the recovery spin was born, with officials saying the event would contribute to reconstruction.

Moreover, the reconstruction plan for the Tohoku region is expected to end when fiscal 2020 closes in March 2021, putting an end to various central government subsidies that helped both victims and municipalities.

… “The Tokyo 2020 Games have become a goal for us to show the region has recovered,” said Yasuki Sato, a Miyagi Prefecture official tasked with coordinating the preparations.

But residents in the area view the preparations as something happening in the background. In fact, some believe they are actually hindering the region’s recovery….

Read more :

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/10/national/recovery-olympics-moniker-2020-games-rubs-3-11-evacuees-wrong-way/#.XIXon8kzbGg

March 18, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the Tokyo Olympics

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By Professor Koide Hiroaki

The original Japanese text is available here

What was the Fukushima Nuclear Accident?

On March 11, 20011, the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was assaulted by a severe earthquake and tsunami, leading to a total power outage. Experts had been agreed that total outage would be the likeliest cause of a catastrophic incident. And just as anticipated, the reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered meltdowns and released enormous quantities of radioactive materials into the surrounding environment. According to the report submitted by the Japanese government to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), this accident released 1.5×1016 becquerels (Bq) of cesium 137 into the atmosphere—the equivalent of 168 Hiroshima bombs. One Hiroshima bomb’s worth of radioactivity is already terrifying, but we have the Japanese government acknowledging that the Fukushima disaster released 168 times the radioactivity of that explosion into the atmosphere.16

The cores of reactors 1, 2, and 3 melted down. The amount of cesium 137 contained in those cores adds up to 7×10^17 Bq, or 8000 Hiroshima bombs’ worth. Of that total, the amount released into the atmosphere was the equivalent of 168 bombs, and combined with releases into the sea, the total release of cesium 137 into the environment to date must be approximately equivalent to 1000 Hiroshima bombs. In other words, most of the radioactive material in those cores remains in the damaged reactor buildings. If the cores were to melt any further, there would be more releases into the environment. It is in order to prevent this that even now, nearly 8 years after the accident, water continues to be aimed by guesswork in the direction where the cores might be located. And because of this, several hundred tons of contaminated waste water are accumulating each day. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has constructed over 1000 tanks on site to store this water, but the total volume now exceeds one million tons. Space is limited, and there is a limit as well to the number of tanks that can be constructed. Tepco will be compelled to release these waters into the sea in the near future.

Obstacles to containing the disaster

Of course, the greatest priority is to secure the melted cores in as safe a condition as possible, but even with the passage of nearly eight years, neither their location nor their condition has been ascertained.17 The reason is that it is impossible to access those sites. Had this accident occurred at a thermal power plant, the problem would have been simple. In the beginning, there might have been fires burning over several days, but once they died down, it would have been possible to go to the site, investigate, repair, and restart operations. In the case of a nuclear power plant, however, anyone approaching the site would die. The government and Tepco have attempted to send in robots, but robots do not stand up well to radiation. The reason is that once their microchips are exposed, their programs get rewritten. Accordingly, almost all the robots sent in to date have failed to return.

 

1.pngReactor 2 Interior Probe, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 1. Reactor pressure vessel 2. Melted fuel debris?  3. Tubing attached to camera  4.Primary containment vessel

“The melted core has fallen through the pedestal and out of the reactor pressure vessel. It cannot be retrieved. One hundred years from now, this accident will still not have been contained.” –Koide Hiroaki Source

Toward the end of January 2017, Tepco inserted a device resembling a remote-controlled endoscope into the concrete platform (pedestal) under the reactor pressure vessel. A large hole that had opened up in the steel scaffolding used by workers during maintenance, located directly under the pressure vessel, made it possible to ascertain the following: the fuel core had melted through the pressure vessel and fallen further down. The investigation yielded something even more important, however. For human beings, exposure to 8 sieverts (Sv) will result in certain death. The area directly under the pressure vessel measured 20 Sv/hour, but along the way, levels as high as 530 or 650 Sv were detected. These measurements, moreover, were found not inside the cylindrical pedestal, but between the wall of the pedestal and the wall of the containment structure. Tepco and the government had scripted a scenario wherein most of the melted core had been deposited, dumpling-like, inside the pedestal, to be retrieved and sealed inside a containment structure in the course of 30-40 years. According to this scenario, the conclusion of this process would signify the achievement of containment. In reality, however, the melted nuclear fuel had flowed out of the pedestal and scattered all around. Forced to rewrite their “roadmap,” the government and Tepco began talking about making an opening on the side of the containment structure through which the melted fuel could be grasped and removed. That, however, is an impossibility. It would entail severe worker exposure.18

From the beginning, I have maintained that the only option is to construct a sarcophagus, covering the plant, as was done at the Chernobyl site in the former Soviet Union. That sarcophagus deteriorated to such an extent in 30 years’ time as to require coverage by a second sarcophagus, put in place in November 2016. The second sarcophagus is expected to last for 100 years. We do not yet know what measures will be available at that point. No one who is alive today can expect to see the containment of the Chernobyl disaster. All the more so in the case of Fukushima: the containment of this disaster will not have been achieved even after all who are alive today have died. Moreover, even if it were hypothetically possible to seal the molten core inside the containment structure, that will not mean that the radioactivity will have vanished. Indeed, it would be necessary to protect any such structure for hundreds of thousands to a million years.

 

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Imaging the aerial method of fuel debris retrieval at Fukushima Daiichi: Since it can not be helped, “Aerial Construction Method” to open a hole from the side of the containment vessel to take out the melted core is proposed, but it becomes a tremendous radiation exposure work. 1. Reactor pressure vessel 2. Primary containment vessel 3. Melted-through nuclear fuel (debris) a. Water flooding method of retrieval rejected  b. Remotely controlled drills and lasers to scrape off debris bit by bit under continuous spray of water  Source

Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency: The human consequences

Tragedy continues to unfold in the environs of the plant. On the day of the disaster, the government issued a Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency, and mandatory evacuation zones were expanded, beginning at 3 kilometers from the plant, then 10, then 20. Residents in those areas had to leave their homes, taking only what they could carry. Livestock and pets were abandoned. That is not all. Iitate Village, located 40-50 kilometers away from Fukushima Daiichi, received no warnings or instructions immediately after the accident, but one month later, because of extreme contamination, the entire village was ordered to evacuate.

What do we mean when we talk about happiness? For many people, happiness likely supposes uneventful days, one unfolding after the other, in the company of family, friends, neighbors, lovers. This is what was ruptured, one day, without warning. Evacuees first went to centers, such as gymnasiums, then to cramped temporary housing, then to “reconstruction” housing or public housing temporarily “declared” to be evacuee quarters. Family members with shared lives until then were scattered apart. Their livelihood destroyed, people have been taking their own lives out of despair.

This is not all. Even outside the mandatory evacuation zones, there emerged vast contaminated areas that by all rights should have been designated “radiation control zones.”19 These are areas where only radiation workers, those who earn their living by handling radiation, are permitted entry. And even those workers, once they enter a control zone, are not permitted to drink water or eat food. Naturally, it is forbidden to sleep. There are no toilets. The government, on the grounds that an emergency situation prevails, has scrapped the usual regulations and abandoned several million people to live in contaminated areas. These people, including infants, drink the water, eat, and sleep in those areas. They have of course been burdened with the risks associated with exposure. And thus abandoned, they are all surely subject to anxiety. Some, seeking to avoid exposure, gave up their jobs and evacuated with their entire families. Others, wishing to protect at least their children from exposure, have split up, with fathers staying behind to pursue their jobs in contaminated areas and mothers leaving with their children. But this has damaged household stability and wrecked family relationships. Staying in contaminated areas hurts the body, but evacuation crushes the soul. These abandoned people have been living in anguish every day for nearly eight years.

On top of this, in March of 2017, the government instructed those it had once ordered to leave, or those who had left of their own volition, to return to those contaminated areas so long as the radiation levels did not exceed 20 millisieverts/year (mSv). The housing assistance it had offered these people, however unsatisfactory, was terminated. This has inevitably meant that some people are forced to return. In Fukushima today, reconstruction is considered the highest priority. If people feel no choice but to live there, then of course, reconstruction becomes desirable. They cannot tolerate living in fear day after day. They would like to forget about the contamination, and fortunately or not, radioactivity is invisible. The central and local governments take active measures to make them forget. Anyone voicing concern or referring to contamination is subject to criticism: they are obstructing reconstruction.

20 mSv per year is the level of exposure permitted only for radiation workers, such as I once was. It is hard to forgive the fact that this level is now being imposed on people who derive no benefit from exposure. Moreover, infants and children, who are especially sensitive to radiation, have no responsibility for the recklessness of Japanese nuclear policy, let alone for the Fukushima disaster. It is not permissible to apply occupational levels of exposure to them. The government of Japan, however, says nothing can be done given the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency. We can understand an emergency lasting for one day, a whole week, one month, or depending on the circumstances, even for one year. But in fact, the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency has not been rescinded even after nearly eight years have passed. The government is eager to make people forget about the Fukushima disaster. Media have fallen silent. Most Japanese have been driven to forget that conditions are such that make it impossible to rescind the Declaration even while the regulations that should prevail have been scrapped. The principal culprit in radioactive contamination is cesium 137, with a half-life of 30 years. Even after the passage of 100 years, it will have diminished by only one-tenth. In point of fact, even after 100 years, Japan will be in a state of nuclear emergency.

Holding the Olympic Games in a state of nuclear emergency

The Olympic games have always been used to display national might. In recent years, they have become tools for businesses, especially construction companies, which create, and then destroy, large public structures, leading to a colossally wasteful society from which they derive stupendous profit. What is important now is for the state to mobilize all its resources so that the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency can be rescinded as soon as possible. The priority should be to give relief to those who continue to suffer from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and at the very least, to protect children, who are blameless, from exposure. The greater the risks facing a society, the more those in power seek to avert peoples’ eyes. The mass media will try to whip up Olympic fever, and there will come a time when those who oppose the Olympics will be denounced as traitors. So it was during World War II: the media broadcast only the proclamations from Imperial Headquarters, and virtually all citizens cooperated in the war effort. The more you thought yourself an upstanding Japanese, the more likely you were to condemn your fellow citizens as traitors. If, however, this is a country that chooses to prioritize the Olympic games over the blameless citizens it has abandoned, then I shall gladly become a traitor.

The Fukushima disaster will proceed in 100-year increments, freighted with enormous tragedies. Casting sidelong glances at the vast numbers of victims, the perpetrators, including Tepco, government officials, scholars, and the media, have utterly failed to take responsibility. Not a single one has been punished.20 Taking advantage of this, they are trying to restart the reactors that are currently stopped and to export them overseas. The Tokyo Olympics will take place in a state of nuclear emergency. Those countries and the people who participate will, on the one hand, themselves risk exposure, and, on the other, become accomplices to the crimes of this nation.

August 23, 2018

Acknowledgments

Let me begin by thanking colleagues at APJ-Japan Focus—Gavan McCormack, Satoko Norimatsu, and Mark Selden—for their encouragement in pursuing this translation. I am grateful to Eiichiro Ochiai and Bo Jacobs, whose work can also be found on this site, for their patient responses to my questions. Koide Hiroaki likewise responded generously. Errors that remain are my own (NF).

Koide Hiroaki wrote the original text in response to a request by Ms. Kusumoto Junko, who translated, printed, and shipped it along with her own statement to the various national Olympic committees. I am grateful to her for these actions. I also thank Mr. Koide for permission to produce this translation.

Related articles

Notes are by the translator.

Notes

1

Much of the following account draws on Koide’s multiple public lectures and interviews as well as author interview on July 22, 2018. For the college years, see especially the evocative essay, “Sōmatō no yō ni meguru omoide” [Like memories swirling on a revolving lantern], Narisuna No. 201 (September 2005), available here.

2

Of course, it was US President Dwight Eisenhower who launched the strategic dream of “peaceful uses” with its special implications for Japan with his “Atoms for Peace” speech before the UN General Assembly on December 8, 1953, not three months before the fateful Castle Bravo shot on Bikini atoll on March 1, 1954. See Yuki Tanaka and Peter Kuznick’s “Japan, the Atomic Bomb, and the ‘Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Power,’” APJ-Japan Focus (May 2, 2011) and Ran Zwigenberg, “The Coming of a Second Sun”: The 1956 Atoms for Peace Exhibit in Hiroshima and Japan’s Embrace of Nuclear Power,” APJ-Japan Focus (February 4, 2012).

3

Even while acknowledging its importance: see interview, “Koide Hiroaki-san ni kiku: ‘Genshiryoku mura’ de wa naku ‘genshiryoku mafia’ da” [Mr. Koide Hiroaki’s views: It’s not a “nuclear village” but a “nuclear mafia”] (March 24, 2015).

4

The relative poverty of the areas where nuclear power plants have been constructed is an integral aspect of siting considerations. Koide is acutely sensitive to these and other discriminatory practices. “Remote,” in any case, is an exquisitely relative designation in a country as small and densely populated as Japan. See here for a series of four maps of Japan, showing nuclear power stations in relation to major cities. If circles with a 20 km radius (12 miles) are drawn around each plant, major cities fall outside their perimeters. But the situation changes drastically if the circle is expanded to 100 kms (62 miles). Double that, to 200 kms (124 miles), and virtually all of Japan, never mind major cities, will be covered by overlapping circles.

5

As of April 2018, the Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Radiation and Nuclear Science (Kyoto Daigaku Fukugō Genshiryoku Kagaku Kenkyūsho).

6

Koide moreover considers the Kumatori site as having been acquired by deception, inasmuch as Kyoto University signed an official agreement guaranteeing the impossible: that no radioactive materials would be released into the air or in the effluent discharged from the Institute.

7

See, for instance, “Tōdai nara katsudō dekinakatta; Kyōdai Koide jokyō ga konshun taishoku” [I couldn’t have sustained my activities at Todai; Kyodai assistant professor Koide retiring this spring], Sunday Mainichi, March 15, 2018; and “Koide Hiroaki Kyōdai jokyō teinen intabyū [Koide Hiroaki­, Kyoto University assistant professor, retirement intervew], Tokyo Shimbun, March 23, 2015, available here.

8

Text of speech, delivered in English, here.

9

See here.

10

Mainichi report, beginning with actual Board of Audit accounting from October 2018.

11

See “Japan’s Olympics Chief Faces Corruption Charges in France,” New York Times, January 11, 2019.

12

Radiation Doses Underestimated in Study of City in Fukushima,” Asahi Shimbun, January 9, 2019. See also “Journal flags articles about radiation exposure following Fukushima disaster” in Retraction Watch; and especially, Shin-ichi Kurokawa and Akemi Shima, “A Glass Badge Study That Failed and Betrayed Residents: A Study with Seven Violations of Ethical Guidelines Can Be No Basis for Government Policies,” Kagaku, Vol. 89:2, February 2019.

13

Shinsaigo ‘hōshasen niko-niko shiteiru hito ni eikyō nai’ Yamashita Nagasaki-dai kyōju ‘shinkoku na kanōsei’ kenkai kiroku” [“No radiation effects on people who keep smiling” post-earthquake: Record of “serious possibility” noted by Nagasaki University Professor Yamashita], Tokyo Shimbun, January 28, 2019.

14

Kantei ni ‘ekigaku chōsa fuyō’ Fukushima gempatsu jiko de Hōiken riji” [“No epidemiological study necessary”: Director of NIRS to Prime Minister’s Office following Fukushima nuclear accident], Tokyo Shimbun, February 18, 2019.

15

“‘Seika rirē’yūchi ni hisaichi Fukushima no jūmin ga hiyayaka na wake” [Why the disaster-afflicted residents of Fukushima are cool to hosting the ‘Olympic torch’ relay], Shūkan Kinyōbi (October 31, 2018). See also her “Follow Up on Thyroid Cancer! Patient Group Voices Opposition to Scaling Down the Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey,” APJ-Japan Focus (January 15, 2017).

16

Cesium 137, with a half-life of approximately 30 years, is a major source of long-term contamination after atmospheric nuclear weapons tests and nuclear power plant accidents. It has been the principal radionuclide of concern in Fukushima. The comparative calculation given here is based on Fukushima estimates released by the Japanese Government in its June 2011 “Report by the Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety—The Accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations” (see here for whole report with links to subsequent revisions and here for Chapter VI, “Discharge of Radioactive Materials to the Environment”),. The information on releases appears in table form as part of an August 26, 2011 Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) “News Release” on “Tokyo Denryoku Kabushikigaisha Fukushima Daiichi Genshiryoku Hatsudensho oyobi Hiroshima ni tōka sareta genshibakudan kara hōshutsu sareta hōshaseibushutsu ni kansuru shisanchi ni tsuite” [On the estimates of radioactive materials released by Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima] (see here). For its estimates of radionuclides released into the atmosphere by the Hiroshima bomb, this report cites the UNSCEAR [United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation] 2000 Report to the General Assembly with Scientific Annexes: “Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation,” Annex C, “Exposures to the Public from Man-made Sources of Radiation.” The reference is surely to Table 9 (p. 213), “Radionuclides produced and globally dispersed in atmospheric nuclear testing,” wherein the radionuclides are listed in identical order as the METI chart on Hiroshima, minus, of course, plutonium 239, 240, and 241 (the Hiroshima bomb, unlike Nagasaki, was a uranium weapon).

17

On 13 February 2019, Tepco released photos showing first contact with melted fuel debris in unit 2. See here.

18

See “Important Stories of Decommissioning 2018” by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI, for the government account of the roadmap, especially pages 20-24 on fuel retrieval.

19

Standards for such designation vary from country to country and within agencies of a given country. Koide’s discussion here is based on the standard of 40,000 Bq/m2 as the threshold of contamination, above which an area should be designated a control zone according to Japanese law.

20

There are currently more than 30 civil cases winding their way through the courts, but only one criminal proceeding in Tokyo District Course, with three former Tepco executives as defendants, charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury. Since public prosecutors had twice declined to indict, the criminal charges and the trial came about only through the tenacity of a citizens’ group and a little-known system of judicial inquest, somewhat comparable to the US grand jury system minus prosecutorial involvement. See “Five-year prison terms sought for former TEPCO executives,” Asahi Shimbun, December 26, 2018.

https://apjjf.org/2019/05/Koide-Field.html

March 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

‘Reconstruction Olympics’ theme said not to have gathered momentum

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Azuma Stadium in the city of Fukushima in March 2017, will host the baseball and softball competitions during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Feb 27, 2019
AOMORI – Half of 42 municipalities in northeastern Japan hit by a massive earthquake in 2011 said the public is not fully aware of the government’s efforts to showcase the region’s recovery from the disaster through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a Kyodo News survey showed Wednesday.
The heads of 21 local governments in Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures said in the survey that the “reconstruction Olympics” theme has yet to fully catch on among the public.
Asked whether the slogan has gained public attention, two mayors said “it has not” while 19 mayors said “it mostly has not.” Eighteen said “it has a little” and two said “it has.” The remaining municipality — the Fukushima city of Soma — did not answer.
“The phrase ‘reconstruction Olympics’ was thought up but no substantial progress has been made and the affected areas feel left behind,” said an official of the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture. “We have limited manpower and cannot spare personnel for Olympic events.”
“The sporting event will be held under the banner of the ‘reconstruction Olympics’ but venues are centered on Tokyo,” said an official of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture.
Asked what they expect from the Tokyo Games in a multiple-choice question, the biggest group, of 36 mayors, picked “promoting our progress toward recovery,” while 20 mayors, mainly from Fukushima, chose “overcoming reputational damage.”
“We want to use the Olympics as a chance to regain sales channels for our farm products,” said an official of the Fukushima town of Namie.
Read more:

March 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

2020 Olympic torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima temporary housing

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This file photo shows the Tokyo Summer Olympics torch relay held in September 1964.
 
Olympics: 2020 torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima
Jan 1, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Recycled aluminum from temporary housing in Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, is planned to be used in the crafting of Tokyo 2020 Olympic torches, sources close to the matter revealed Monday.
The plan is likely to attract interest in Japan and abroad as being another symbolic effort to uphold one of the main themes of the July 24-Aug. 9 Summer Games as a “reconstruction Olympics.”
More than 10,000 pieces of aluminum are expected to be needed for the torches, used by runners in the nationwide relay beginning after the Olympic flame arrives in Japan from Greece on March 20, 2020.
According to sources, organizers will need to coordinate with local governments in the future in order to determine which metals can be procured from temporary housing that is no longer in use.
Tokyo 2020 organizers are also collecting metals from used electronics handed in by consumers nationwide to forge the approximately 5,000 medals to be awarded at the Games, and said in October they had reached their target for bronzes.
The “flame of reconstruction” will first be displayed in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, the three most affected by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated a large part of northeastern Japan.
The Japan leg of the relay will begin in Fukushima on March 26, and will travel across all 47 prefectures of the country over a period of 121 days before arriving in Tokyo for the opening ceremony.
The design of the torch, which has already been approved by the International Olympic Committee, will be announced next spring.
 
 

January 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | 1 Comment

4.1 micro Sv/h driving by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

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November 18, 2018 this person drove by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. His Geiger counter showed.
Please send this info to any Olympic athletes you know in the world. Tokyo will never be safe but will be ready for 2020 Olympic Games, by sacrificing everyone’s health and global environment for a handful people’s wealth.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Abe, IOC chief to visit Fukushima venue for 2020 Olympics

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November 5, 2018
TOKYO – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach plan to visit the venue in Fukushima for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics later this month, a government source said Sunday.
With a “reconstruction Olympics” being one of the fundamental themes of the Summer Games, the government hopes the visit planned for Nov 24 will increase momentum toward the recovery of the country’s northeastern region, devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Bach will visit Japan to attend a two-day general assembly meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees starting Nov 28, followed by an IOC Executive Board session, both to be held in Tokyo.
The Olympic torch relay will start in Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, 2020, with the flame scheduled to be lit in the ancient Greek city of Olympia on March 12 the same year, a day after the ninth anniversary of the 2011 disaster.
The city of Fukushima will host six softball games including a match played by the Japan team on July 22 as the first event of the Olympic Games.
https://japantoday.com/category/politics/abe-ioc-chief-to-visit-fukushima-venue-for-2020-olympics

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Child statue in protective suit in crisis-hit Fukushima unwelcomed for 2020 Olympics

Child statue in protective suit in crisis-hit Fukushima criticized

hkkllmm.jpgPassers-by look at Sun Child, a 6.2-meter statue clad in a protective suit, near JR Fukushima Station in northeastern Japan, on Aug. 12, 2018.

August 13, 2018
FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — The statue of a child clad in a protective suit set up near JR Fukushima station has sparked criticism that it gives the impression that Fukushima residents need such gear after the 2011 nuclear crisis.
The 6.2-meter statue called Sun Child was made by contemporary artist Kenji Yanobe to express his wish for a world free from nuclear disasters. The statue indicates the surrounding air is “clean” as the child is holding its helmet in its hand and a radiation counter on its chest reads “000.”
Yanobe apologized on his website Friday for “discomforting” some people with his artwork, which was created in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown and installed near JR Fukushima station in the city of Fukushima on Aug. 3.
“I wanted to make a work that encourages people (in Fukushima)…and made the statue of a child standing up bravely and strongly against any difficulties it faces,” he said. “The clothing looks like protective gear, but it is also armor to confront major issues and, being like a space suit, it also carries a futuristic image.”
But he admitted that his earlier explanation of the artwork — such as calling the clothing “protective gear” and the device on the statue’s chest a “Geiger counter” — may have led to misunderstanding.
Critical views were posted on Twitter and the city of Fukushima received calls demanding the statue’s removal. “The statue will encourage reputational damage because it gives an impression that people in Fukushima cannot live without protective gear,” one person said.
Others argued the statue was “unscientific” because it indicates that it would only be safe for someone wearing protective gear to take off a helmet when the radiation level falls to zero. Usually the radiation level is not zero even in areas not affected by nuclear accidents due to natural radiation.
Yanobe said in a statement, “I should have paid more attention to the fact that accurate knowledge about radiation is needed much more now than before the disaster.”
Fukushima Mayor Hiroshi Kohata called for understanding in a Twitter post saying, “Contemporary art is abstract expression unlike science.”
Yanobe said he wants to discuss with the city about what to do with the statue.

 

Fukushima residents complain over statue of child in radiation suit

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Critics say artwork outside train station gives impression area is unfit for habitation
Sun Child is depicted in a yellow Hazmat-style suit. The mayor of Fukushima defended the decision to install the statue.
Mon 13 Aug 2018
Residents of Fukushima have demanded the removal of a statue of a child in a protective suit from outside the city’s railway station, saying it gives the impression that the area is unfit for human habitation as a result of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The statue, by Kenji Yanobe, depicts a child dressed in a yellow Hazmat-style suit, with a helmet in one hand and an artistic representation of the sun in the other.
Yanobe said his Sun Child, which was installed by the municipal government after appearing at art exhibitions in Japan and overseas, was intended to express his desire for a nuclear-free world.
The artist said he did not mean to give the impression that local children needed to protect themselves from radiation more than seven years after the Fukushima Daiichi plant became the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
He pointed out that the child was not wearing the helmet and that a monitor on its chest showed radiation levels at “000”.
“I wanted to make a work that encourages people [in Fukushima] … and made the statue of a child standing up bravely and strongly against any difficulties it faces,” Yanobe said, according to Kyodo News.
But he added: “I should have paid more attention to the fact that accurate knowledge about radiation is needed much more now than before the disaster.”
His statue drew criticism on social media and in messages to the city government after it went on display this month. “It will cause damage to Fukushima’s reputation because it gives the impression that people cannot live there without protective gear,” one poster said, according to Kyodo.
Others pointed out that the monitor reading of zero was misleading, since areas that have not been affected by nuclear leaks have varying levels of background radiation.
The mayor of Fukushima, Hiroshi Kohata, defended the decision to install the statue, saying he believed the child looked hopeful about the city’s future, and the sun symbol was a reference to the need to develop clean energy sources.
However, he acknowledged public criticism of the statue and said he would take into account the opinions of residents before making a decision on its future.
Japan’s government hopes the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will help highlight Fukushima’s recovery from the disaster, despite the slow pace of the costly and complicated task of decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi, and concerns about radiation levels in nearby communities.
The city will host Olympic baseball and softball games and was recently chosen as the starting point for the Olympic torch relay.
The row over the statue comes as local authorities are trying to persuade families to return to evacuated neighbourhoods. Few residents have returned to cities, towns and villages where evacuation orders have been lifted, with families with young children most concerned about moving back.
In Naraha, about 12 miles south of the plant, only several hundred people among the pre-disaster population of 7,400 have returned since the town was declared safe in September 2015.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

First leg of 2020 Olympic torch relay will be in Fukushima

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2020 Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima on March 26

July 12, 2018
In total denial of the omnipresent radioactive contamination risks…
Weightlifter Yoichi Itokazu, left, waves the Olympic flag while Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, second from right, waves the Paralympic flag during a Tokyo 2020 Games flag tour event at the Okinawa Prefectural Government building in Naha in this Oct. 30, 2017
TOKYO — A coordination council comprising organizations involved in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has decided that the torch relay for the 2020 Games will depart from Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, 2020, as part of efforts to encourage residents affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.
According to the Fukushima Prefectural Government, 44,878 residents still remained evacuated within and outside Fukushima Prefecture as of July 5, 2018. At a meeting of the coordination council held in Tokyo on July 12, top officials from the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the central government and other organizations agreed to pick Fukushima as the starting point.
The organizing committee had thus far given equal consideration to Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures — which were hit hardest by the March 11, 2011 disasters — in line with the banner of the “disaster recovery Olympics” it raised during its bid to invite the games to Tokyo. However, as the number of evacuees from Fukushima stands highest among the three prefectures, and the fact that the prefecture continues to face difficulties emanating from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant catastrophe, the officials decided to choose the prefecture to symbolize disaster relief efforts.
“We wanted to respect the original starting point of our bidding campaigns,” said former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who chairs the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
The council also announced the schedule for the 121-day torch relay, including seven days for the torch to travel between relay courses. Such travel between different prefectures will largely take place by car, while that to Okinawa Prefecture and Hokkaido will be carried out via ferry.
After spending three days being passed from runner to runner through Fukushima Prefecture, the torch will move to Tochigi Prefecture, then travel south to Gunma and Nagano prefectures, before heading to the Tokai and Kinki regions and the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. After reaching the southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa, the torch relay will start heading north on May 2, 2020, moving to the Chugoku, Hokuriku and Tohoku regions mainly along the Sea of Japan coast, before reaching the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido on June 14. From there, the torch relay will once again move southward, covering Iwate and Miyagi prefectures for three days each. As of late June 2018, some 5,022 Iwate Prefecture residents and 3,556 Miyagi Prefecture residents remained evacuated due to the 2011 disasters.
From Miyagi, the torch will then be transported to Shizuoka Prefecture using expressways. After a three-day leg each in Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures near Tokyo, and a two-day leg each in Yamanashi and Ibaraki prefectures, the Olympic flame will finally arrive in Tokyo on July 10. The torch will then be passed between all of the capital’s 62 wards, cities, towns and villages, including those on islands south of Tokyo’s city center, for a period of up to 15 days.
During the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the torch relay departed from Okinawa, then still under control of the United States, covering a total of four different routes. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) currently does not allow splitting courses.
The respective organizing committees set up in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures will draw up detailed route maps by the end of the year, while the Fukushima Prefectural Government will select the departure point. After the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee compiles the route plans, they will be finalized upon gaining the green light from the IOC by the summer of 2019. After the routes and the number of runners are decided, each prefecture will start selecting torch bearers.
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The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games meets on July 12 to approve the start of the 2020 Olympic flame relay.

First leg of 2020 Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games meets on July 12 to approve the start of the 2020 Olympic flame relay.
July 12, 2018
The Olympic torch relay will start in Fukushima Prefecture in 2020 to reinforce the image that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be about showcasing the reconstruction from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games approved the plan at a meeting on July 12 to have the torch relay start in Fukushima Prefecture from March 26, 2020. The relay will then travel through all prefectures of Japan before entering Tokyo on July 10, 2020.
“The struggles and sadness experienced by residents of the three hardest-hit prefectures (of the 2001 earthquake and tsunami) are tremendous,” Yoshiro Mori, the committee president, said at the organizing committee meeting. “Among the three, Fukushima Prefecture continues to be the one with the most number of evacuees.”
Each prefecture will establish a committee to organize the relay within their jurisdiction. Those committees will decide on the exact route the Olympic flame will take through their prefectures. Those courses are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The Olympic organizing committee will compile those route plans and decide on the specific course of the torch by summer 2019.
There were two proposals for the start of the Olympic torch relay.
One called for the start to be in one of the three hardest-hit prefectures from the 2011 disasters–Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate.
The other was to follow the precedent set by the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics and start the relay in Okinawa Prefecture.
The experts panel within the organizing committee that considered the two proposals pointed out that starting the relay in the Tohoku region could lead to increased expenses because of the need for measures to deal with the cold weather in late March in those prefectures.
But organizing committee members increasingly held the view that there was a need to transmit the message that the Games would be all about recovery and rebuilding from the 2011 natural disasters and accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
That led to the decision to start the relay in Fukushima Prefecture.
Under the general outline agreed to, once the flame leaves Fukushima Prefecture, it would proceed south through the northern Kanto region before moving westward to the Chubu, southern Kinki, Shikoku and Kyushu regions. The flame would be transported by ferry from Kyushu to Okinawa Prefecture and back.
The relay would then pass through the Chugoku, northern Kinki, Hokuriku and Tohoku regions before going to Hokkaido. From the northernmost main island, the relay will proceed along the Pacific coast of the main Honshu island and go through Iwate and Miyagi prefectures before making its way around the southern Kanto region and entering the nation’s capital on July 10, 2020.
In Tokyo, the relay will extend over 15 days and pass through all 23 wards as well as outlying cities, towns and villages.
While the International Olympic Committee has set a broad outline for Olympic torch relays that they should be completed within 100 days, the Tokyo organizing committee has been granted an exception, and the relay will take up to 121 days.
Before the start of the Olympic torch relay, the organizing committee will display the flame brought to Japan from the traditional lighting ceremony in Greece as the “light of reconstruction” in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Stadium in Fukushima to be used as venue in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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TOKYO, March 17 (Xinhua) — Representatives from the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics said here Friday that the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima Prefecture would be used as an additional venue for baseball and softball events during the 2020 Games.

In an effort to support areas in Japan hardest-hit by the quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in March 2011, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the use of the 30,000-seater Azuma Stadium, in Fukushima City, the organizers said.

The announcement came after the IOC agreed to the proposal earlier Friday in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The 31-year-old Azuma Stadium in Japan’s northeast, which will now have to be renovated, won unanimous approval by the committee ahead of two other stadiums in Fukushima, including the Kaiseizan Stadium in Koriyama and the Iwaki Green Stadium.

The stadium will likely be used for Japan’s opening games, officials here said. They added that the location of the events is hoped to ensure the plight of the people of Fukushima remains in the international spotlight, as well as give hope to and encourage the people who live in the disaster-hit prefecture.

According to government statistics, around 150,000 people were displaced as a result of the multiple meltdowns, which took place at the Daiichi plant following an earthquake-triggered tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The ongoing disaster at the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), remains the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-03/18/c_136138788.htm

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

2020 Olympics Baseball in Fukushima

Intense lobbying finally succeeded in getting approval for the 2020 Olympics baseball and softball events to take place in Fukushima prefecture, once more proving that economic reconstruction and pro-nuclear propaganda are more important priorities for the Japanese government than the health protection  of anyone.

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Nuclear-hit Fukushima gets nod for 2020 baseball

Nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima won formal approval to host baseball during the Tokyo Olympics on Friday — and may have the honour of putting on the opening game.

Chief organiser Yoshiro Mori said the International Olympic Committee’s executive board had agreed to hold baseball and softball in Fukushima at a meeting in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The choice of Fukushima comes after the prefecture was hit six years ago by the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, some of whom are still unable to return home.

“It’s the Tokyo Games but at least one game, probably the opening game, will go to Fukushima stadium,” Mori told reporters in Pyeongchang, venue for next year’s Winter Olympics.

“That was the proposal… and everybody agreed.”

The choice of baseball is significant as it is Japan’s most popular sport and will be closely watched by domestic fans when it returns to the Olympic schedule in 2020.

World Baseball Softball Confederation chief Riccardo Fraccari gave the Fukushima move his blessing, calling it a “tremendous honour and a duty” in a statement issued by Tokyo 2020 organisers.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, which devastated a large swathe of northeastern Japan, leaving about 18,500 people dead or missing.

“Tokyo 2020 is a showcase of the recovery and reconstruction of Japan from the disaster, March 11,” Mori said.

“So in many ways we would like to give encouragement and hope to the people, especially in the affected area.”

Among similar efforts, the Olympic football tournament will hold preliminary games in Sendai, while the 2019 Rugby World Cup will take in Kamaishi — both cities in areas affected by the 2011 disaster.

While no deaths have been officially attributed to radiation exposure, some evacuees are concerned the government is moving too fast to deem closed-off areas safe to inhabit.

Government evacuation orders for some 70 percent of the originally closed off areas will be lifted by April 1, except for certain towns near the battered facility, and authorities are encouraging evacuees to return.

But Tokyo Electric Power Co, the nuclear plant operator, and the government are facing a four-decade task of cleaning up and decommissioning the facility.

The Olympic baseball and softball will be held in the Azuma stadium, which will be refurbished at the expense of the local authorities, Mori said

https://www.yahoo.com/news/nuclear-hit-fukushima-gets-nod-2020-baseball-031832337–oly.html

Anger as Fukushima to host Olympic events during Tokyo 2020 Games

The decision to hold baseball and softball matches in the city of Fukushima as part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been criticised as a cynical manoeuvre by the Japanese government to convince the world that the 2011 nuclear crisis is over.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced on Friday that the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium will host softball and baseball matches during the Games.

Venues in Tokyo will host the majority of the sporting events, which will take place nine years after a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off Tohoku, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people and the melt-down of three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which is less than 50 miles from Fukushima City.

In a statement, the committee said it believes that “the hosting of events in Fukushima will support recovery efforts in the overall Tohoku region.

“Matches played in the Tohoku region will be further evidence of Tokyo 2020’s commitment to bring sporting events to the recovering areas and will demonstrate the power of sport”, it added.

The statement makes no mention of ongoing efforts at the Fukushima plant to bring the reactors under control and recover the nuclear fuel that has escaped from containment vessels. Authorities estimate it will take 40 years for the site to be rendered safe.

Work is also continuing to decontaminate areas that were beneath the nuclear plume immediately after the accident. According to government figures, around 120,000 people are still not able to return to their homes because of the disaster.

“It’s fine for athletes and spectators to go to Fukushima for a couple of days to compete, but the Japanese government is using this to claim that everything is back to normal and that he evacuees should go back to their homes”, said Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Kyoto-based Green Action Japan.

“It’s unconscionable”, she told The Telegraph. “To tell people that because the Games are being held in Fukushima that it is perfectly safe for people to go back to their homes, for farmers to go back into their fields, for children to play in the open air is just wrong”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/olympics/2017/03/17/anger-fukushima-host-olympic-events-tokyo-2020-games/

Fukushima to host Tokyo Olympics events to help recovery from nuclear disaster

Some baseball and softball events will be held about 70km from nuclear power plant that suffered triple meltdown in 2011

Fukushima has been chosen to host baseball and softball matches at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, organisers said on Friday, a move they hope will boost the region’s recovery from the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

Azuma baseball stadium, about 70km north-west of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, will host at least one baseball game – possibly the opening match – and one or more softball fixtures, according to Yoshiro Mori, the 2020 organising committee president.

By hosting Olympic baseball and softball events, Fukushima will have a great platform to show the world the extent of its recovery in the 10 years since the disaster,” Mori said in a statement.

It will also be a wonderful chance for us to show our gratitude towards those who assisted in the region’s reconstruction. And I’m sure the people of Fukushima are also looking forward very much to seeing Olympics events hosted there.”

Mori said the “fantastic idea” to hold baseball and softball matches in the affected area had originated in a meeting between the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in October last year.

Two months later, however, the IOC initially declined to add Azuma to the main baseball venue in Yokohama.

Riccardo Fraccari, the president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, welcomed the IOC’s change of heart, describing it as a “great step” that would to “inspire hope and highlight the regeneration in Fukushima”.

He added: “It is a tremendous honour and a duty we take very seriously to be a part of something so meaningful – to serve the Olympic movement and to use the power of sport to shape a better world.”

The Fukushima prefectural government has offered to cover the costs of the refurbishment and renovation work needed to bring the 30,000-seat stadium up to Olympic standards, according to organisers.

Miyagi prefecture, where almost 11,000 people died in the March 2011 triple disaster along Japan’s north-east coast, will host preliminary matches in the 2020 football competition.

No evacuation order has ever been in place in the part of Fukushima prefecture where the baseball stadium is located. The Azuma sports park complex served as an evacuation centre for people fleeing radiation caused by the triple meltdown triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.

Nuclear power officials in Japan insist the 40-year effort to decommission Fukushima Daiichi, including the storage of nuclear waste, will not affect people visiting the region to attend Olympics events.

The IOC’s executive board, which is meeting this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea – the host of next year’s Winter Olympics – is expected to receive an update on the golf venue for 2020, which has come under pressure to change its discriminatory membership policy. Kasumigaseki Country Club, a private golf course in Saitama prefecture, north-west of Tokyo, forbids women from becoming full members and from playing on Sundays.

Last month, the IOC’s vice-president, John Coates, said organisers would have to find another venue if the club refused to drop its restrictions on female players.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/fukushima-to-host-tokyo-olympics-events-to-help-recovery-from-nuclear-disaster

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima to host some baseball, softball games at 2020 Olympics

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Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori (left) shakes hands with Yoshiro Mori, who heads the 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizing committee Wednesday in Tokyo, as the committee approved a plan to host baseball and softball games in the prefecture.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers on Wednesday gave the green light for disaster-affected Fukushima Prefecture to host baseball and softball games.

Three cities — Fukushima, Koriyama and Iwaki — are under consideration to stage part of the competition as the two sports return to the Olympic program after an absence of 12 years.

Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, will visit Japan next week to inspect the venues. The International Olympic Committee will make the final decision when it holds its executive board meeting from Dec. 6 to 8.

“We want to emphasize this as a ‘recovery games’ and we want to work together with everyone to move it forward,” said 2020 executive board member Toshiaki Endo.

“These Olympics and Paralympics are not just for Tokyo but for the whole of Japan. We only have 1,353 days left, so we need everyone to make an effort so we can put on a fantastic event.”

IOC President Thomas Bach floated the idea of hosting baseball and softball games in Fukushima during a visit to Tokyo last month to take part in the World Forum on Sport and Culture.

“I felt that President Bach had a strong feeling toward Fukushima when he came here,” said Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori. “The idea of a ‘recovery games’ is once again in the spotlight and people are thinking carefully about how that can be achieved.

“It can show the courage of Fukushima Prefecture and the Tohoku region, and on a wider scale Kumamoto and Tottori — places that are working hard to recover from disaster.”

The Yomiuri Giants professional baseball team occasionally hosts Nippon Professional Baseball games at all three venues. Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium and Iwaki Green Stadium both have capacities of 30,000, while the older Koriyama Kaiseizan Baseball Stadium holds 18,200.

Neighboring Miyagi Prefecture is hoping to stage rowing and canoe sprint events as a result of a cost-cutting review currently being undertaken by the IOC, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 organizers and the national government.

“Miyagi Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture all suffered a lot of damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Uchibori.

“These three prefectures have a close bond and always work together. We want to form a movement. We want to show our appreciation to people and get people excited about the Tokyo Olympics. I’d like to consult with my fellow governors.”

Uchibori also said he would like his prefecture to host other Olympic-related events such as training camps and a section of the torch relay.

Baseball and softball were voted back onto the Olympic program as a joint bid at an IOC session in Rio de Janeiro in August ahead of the Summer Games. The format of the competitions has yet to be decided.

Fukushima eyed for baseball, softball games in 2020 Olympics

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment