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Time running out on Tokyo Olympics

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February 19, 2020

Japan needs to rethink the Olympics. The most pressing reason to postpone or cancel the 2020 Tokyo summer games, which are due to start in late July, is a raging public health crisis of unknown dimensions.

The second most important reason to put the Olympics on hold is the Japanese government response to the public health crisis to date: it has shown itself to have feet of clay.

If the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked in Yokohama Port under quarantine, is a litmus test of Japan’s ability to exercise compassion and competence in an emergency involving thousands of people from around the world, the Abe government has failed miserably.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo continues to dither while a ship docked in a Japanese port is ravaged by a dangerous virus; nearly 500 infected at latest count. Mr Abe and his political associates continue to proclaim the Olympics will not be delayed, but that is just wishful thinking.

How can a country move forward with plans to “welcome” the world to the Tokyo games when it can’t even deal with a single cruise ship stranded in Tokyo Bay?

Ever since right-wing firebrand Ishihara Shintaro was mayor of Tokyo, the 2020 Olympics have been a pet project of Japan nationalists seeking to burnish a flawed legacy. They hold the vain hope the 2020 games will be as transformative as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics famously were, again heralding an era of national pride.

Perhaps the turning point of the Beijing Olympics of 2008 is a more apt comparison, given the upsurge of social control, information control and the discordant noise of nationalism.

Among other things, Mr Abe also sees the Olympics as a way of proving to the world that the Fukushima nuclear mess — Japan’s answer to Chernobyl — is not a cause for concern. This is ironic because the messy aftermath of the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and meltdown) of March 2011 has been seized upon by Mr Abe and his allies to tighten their grip on power.

Fukushima is an environmental tragedy, but the fact is, it cannot be fully contained, so the struggle has shifted to containing information.

Former prime minister Koizumi Junichiro has called Mr Abe “a liar” for sugar-coating the disaster. Mr Abe had statistics about evacuees were reclassified and altered to make things look more positive. He reassured the Olympic Committee that things at Fukushima were “under control”, which is to say he had the flow of information under control, not the toxic, radioactive leaks. In 2019, Mr Abe’s cabinet shamelessly made a move to dump a million tonnes of “harmless” contaminated water into the open sea.

Mr Abe’s ability to control information is bolstered by an “official secrets act” that criminalises journalists and whistleblowers for reporting leaked information, including radiation leaks. He has exonerated those most responsible for the nuclear mishap — big players in the electric power industry — and put the burden on the taxpayer, reminiscent of the US bailout of Wall Street bailout in 2008.

Only instead of toxic default swaps, it’s a swapping of feel-good stories for news of toxic doom.

Japanese consumers are justifiably nervous about food sourced near the Daiichi Nuclear plant, but Mr Abe is willfully pushing to include food from Fukushima at the Tokyo Olympic Village to “prove” it isn’t tainted.

Nor is it mere coincidence that Mr Abe’s government wants the Olympic Torch Run to commence just 20 kilometres from the damaged Dai-Ichi reactor.

Fearing negative news, hundreds of Japan evacuees from Wuhan were quietly dumped at Haneda Airport without mandatory quarantine. Some took the train home. The Abe government also made a point of asking the World Health Organisation (WHO) not to include the feverish passengers on Diamond Princess in Japan’s national case toll, presumably in order not to dampen “Olympic fever”.

Mr Abe’s icy silence regarding the stricken ship was broken with a silly string of excuses for not being able to test everyone. Hong Kong tested and cleared an entire cruise ship in less time than it took Japan to test a tenth of the passengers.

Even as the coronavirus started to spread among Japanese who had not travelled to China in mid-February, a gala Olympic torch event was held in the streets of Tokyo. Even as public health experts warned of a crisis brewing, it was business as usual for tourist festivals, including the uniquely vulnerable “10,000 naked man festival” in Okayama, which brings to mind the ill-fated “feast for 10,000” held by officials in Wuhan.

The Japanese government’s failure to test all cruise passengers meant even those American passengers “lucky” enough for US evacuation on Monday travelled on planes chartered by the US government in tight spaces with infected passengers.

There are many well-equipped military bases in Japan, dozens under the flag of the Rising Sun, dozens more under the Stars and Stripes.

With so many bases nearby, why is land quarantine not an option?

To portray Mr Abe’s cavalier treatment of the imperilled humans trapped aboard the Diamond Princess as racial or national prejudice is not fair; half of the passengers are Japanese.

But it is not wrong to suggest that the stigmatised human beings aboard that ship are being subject to intense prejudice, despite the fact that many of them happen to hold Japanese passports.

When it comes to stigma and exclusion, Japan can be ruthless to natives and non-natives alike. The tradition of “village outcast” (mura hachibu) in rural Japan has been updated to “shunned to the window” (madogawazoku) in modern offices.

This seems to be the fate of those left on the Diamond Princess, though not all of them have windows to sit by.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to infect human beings regardless of race, creed and myths of national origin. Timely intervention makes a difference, as does common sense and common decency.

Unfortunately, we live in a time of toxic nationalism, intolerance and failed leadership. Not just Japan, but China and the US too. Similar dynamics can be seen at play in smaller countries as well, whether it be Thailand and Cambodia, or England and France.

Any leader who insists that “the show must go on” while doing nothing to help people in real distress proves a fundamental unworthiness to run the show.


https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1860744/time-running-out-on-tokyo-olympics?fbclid=IwAR28n9F_Roj3mCz2YaH_8QAewP0C8WPDawClR44WwU3sv9CPcDLeSLIFa7k

February 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , | Leave a comment

Will the 2020 Tokyo Radioactive Olympics be cancelled as well?

“You’d think by now everyone would have realized there aren’t going to be any Olympic games this year given that qualifying matches are not being held, visitors to and from Japan are already being blocked, and even events in Europe are being cancelled through April. Predicted in January they’d realize between Feb 14 and March 1 that it would have to be delayed. Unless math and the viral dna change… not likely.
 
Running a torch relay through Fukushima Prefecture says “we give zero actual Fs” about anyone’s “health”. Appearance is EVERYTHING.”
(Credits to Bruce Brinkman, reporting from Tokyo)

List of sports events affected by the coronavirus outbreak

10325401_10204102291517461_1178696755673550066_nMeme made by Christian Roy and Hervé Courtois in 2013

 

List of sports events affected by the coronavirus outbreak

February 18, 2020

ATHLETICS

World indoor championships in Nanjing from March 13-15 postponed to March 2021.

Hong Kong Marathon on Feb. 9 cancelled.

Asian indoor championships in Hangzhou from Feb. 12-13 cancelled.

Tokyo Marathon on March 1: Restricted to elite runners.

AUTO RACING

Formula One’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 postponed. New date not set.

Formula E’s Sanya E-Prix in Sanya on March 21 cancelled.

BADMINTON

China Masters in Hainan from Feb. 25-March 1 postponed. New dates not set.

Asian team championships in Manila from Feb. 11-16: China and Hong Kong withdrew.

BASKETBALL

Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament moved from Foshan to Belgrade, Serbia from Feb. 6-9.

Asia Cup qualifiers postponed: Philippines vs. Thailand on Feb. 20; Japan vs. China on Feb. 21, China vs. Malaysia on Feb. 24. Matches scheduled for Hong Kong moved to opponents’ homes.

BIATHLON

Olympic test event in Zhangjiakou from Feb. 27-March 2 cancelled.

BOXING

Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifier moved from Wuhan to Amman, Jordan from March 3-11.

SPORT CLIMBING

Asian Championships in Chongqing from April 25-May 3 to be relocated.

World Cup in Wujiang from April 18-19 cancelled.

World Cup in Chongqing on April 22 cancelled.

EQUESTRIAN

Hong Kong showjumping leg of Longines Masters Series from Feb. 14-16 cancelled.

FIELD HOCKEY

Hockey Pro League matches between China and Belgium on Feb. 8-9 and Australia on March 14-15 postponed.

India women’s tour of China from March 14-25 cancelled.

Ireland women’s tour of Malaysia in March-April cancelled.

GOLF

US LPGA Tour

Honda LPGA Thailand in Pattaya from Feb. 20-23 cancelled.

HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore from Feb. 27-March 1 cancelled.

Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island from March 5-8 cancelled.

European Tour

Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from April 16-19 postponed.

China Open in Shenzhen from April 23-26 postponed.

GYMNASTICS

Artistic World Cup in Melbourne, Australia from Feb. 20-23: China team withdrew.

HANDBALL

Olympic women’s qualifying tournament in Montenegro from March 20-22: China withdrew. Hong Kong declined invitation to attend.

ICE HOCKEY

Chinese clubs in Supreme Hockey League playing home games in Russia.

Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia in Manila, Philippines, from Feb. 23-28 cancelled.

JUDO

Paris Grand Slam on Feb. 8-9: China team withdrew.

Dusseldorf Grand Slam on Feb. 21-23: China team withdrew.

RUGBY

Hong Kong Sevens moved from April 3-5 to Oct. 16-18.

Singapore Sevens moved from April 11-12 to Oct. 10-11.

SAILING

Asian Nacra 17 Championship in Shanghai from March 1-6 moved to Genoa, Italy from April 12-19.

Asian 49erFX Championship in Hainan from March 20-29 moved to Genoa, Italy from April 12-19.

SKIING

Alpine World Cup in Yanqing from Feb. 15-16 cancelled.

SOCCER

Asian Champions League: Matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua, and Shanghai SIPG postponed to April-May. Beijing FC allowed to play from Feb. 18.

Asian women’s Olympic qualifying Group B tournament relocated from Wuhan to Sydney from Feb. 3-13. China vs. South Korea playoff on March 11 moved from China to Malaysia.

AFC Cup: All group stage and playoff matches in east zone delayed to April 7.

Chinese Super League, due to start Feb. 22, delayed.

Asian men’s futsal championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from Feb. 26-March 8 postponed.

SWIMMING

Asian water polo championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan from Feb. 12-16 cancelled.

Diving Grand Prix in Madrid from Feb. 14-16: China team withdrew.

Diving world series event in Beijing from March 7-9 cancelled.

TENNIS

Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tournament moved from Dongguan to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from March 3-7.

VOLLEYBALL

Beach volleyball World Cup in Yangzhou from April 22-26 postponed.

WEIGHTLIFTING

Asian Championships from April 18-25 moved from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

WRESTLING

Asian Championships in New Delhi from Feb. 20-23: China, North Korea, Turkmenistan teams withdrew.

OTHERS

Chinese Anti-Doping Agency suspended testing from Feb. 3.

Winter X Games events in Chongli from Feb. 21-23 postponed.

Singapore athlete of the year awards on Feb. 26 postponed.

World Chess Federation’s presidential council meeting moved from China to United Arab Emirates on Feb. 28-29.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Para Games in the Philippines from March 20-28 postponed. New dates not set.

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championships (offroad triathlon, duathlon) in Taiwan from March 28-29 cancelled.

Snooker’s China Open from March 30-April 5 cancelled.

SportAccord summit in Beijing from April 19-24 cancelled. New site to be determined.

Singapore bans spectators at National School Games from January-August.

University Athletic Association of the Philippines postponed all sports events.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/article240385126.html

February 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan prepares for widespread coronavirus outbreak

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February 18, 2020

As cases of the coronavirus emerge around the country, Japanese health officials are finding it increasingly difficult to identify the routes of infection. The government has announced it is stepping up screening efforts and will have the capacity to test 3,800 people a day starting on Tuesday.

Health ministry official infected despite no close contact

The number of cases in Japan stands at more than 500 as of writing, including 454 from a quarantined cruise ship docked near Tokyo.

Anxiety surrounding the virus has been palpable for weeks, with citizens throughout the country wearing face masks and carrying alcoholic disinfectant. But the concern reached new levels on Monday, after news broke of a health ministry official testing positive. The man, who is in his 50s, had been working on the quarantined cruise ship, reportedly helping control traffic as infected passengers disembarked. Worryingly, he was infected despite only working for about 10 minutes and maintaining a distance of at least two meters from the passengers.

Japan’s health ministry announced on Monday that one of its officials who had been working on the quarantined cruise ship was infected with the coronavirus.

Pressure on government grows

On Monday, the health ministry announced a directive instructing all municipalities to expand screenings to include people with symptoms who have not traveled to the Chinese provinces of Hubei and Zhejiang. Hubei is the epicenter of the outbreak, and has close business links with Zhejiang.

The measure comes after infections were confirmed among people who had neither been to the provinces nor come into contact with people who had.

Laboratories, quarantine stations, universities, and companies around the country are now increasing their personnel in an effort to meet the new testing requirements. The health ministry says the expanded manpower will enable screening of an additional 1,050 people a day.

The ministry says it will also provide medical institutions that have adequate screening equipment with the chemicals and materials needed to conduct testing.

National testing standard

The ministry also announced a set of standards to help people decide when to seek medical assistance:

  • People who display symptoms of the common cold or a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius for four days are advised to contact a local medical center.
  • People experiencing severe fatigue or breathing difficulties, as well as those with fever, are advised to contact a local medical center.
  • People vulnerable to viruses, including the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, are advised to seek medical assistance if they have cold symptoms or fever for two days. Pregnant women are also advised to seek early consultation.

Additionally, ministry officials are urging people to stay home from school or work if they display any symptoms of the cold.

Clinical trials on HIV drug

Health experts are working around the clock on treatment. While it will be some time before a vaccine is available for widespread use, there are signs that one already existing drug may be effective at combating the virus.

The director of Disease Control and Prevention Center, Norio Omagari, told NHK World that a team of researchers from his organization is conducting clinical trials on a drug commonly used to treat HIV. Omagari says that some patients have recovered after the tests, adding that his team is expediting the process to verify the effectiveness of the treatment.

Social impact

The outbreak is affecting a wide range of activities in business and culture.

Japan’s Imperial Household Agency has canceled Emperor Naruhito’s public birthday greetings, which were schedule for February 23. The event would have marked the emperor’s first birthday since ascending to the throne and thousands were expected to attend. It is the first imperial birthday greeting to be called off since 1996, when there was a hostage crisis at the Japanese embassy in Peru.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Marathon is planning to cancel entries from the general public. The race will be held on March 1, and about 38,000 people had originally registered to take part.

On the business side, Japanese companies with operations in Hubei Province and other parts of China have been struggling to maintain production. The full extent of the impact of the outbreak is difficult to assess but experts say it will prove to be a major setback for the global economy.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/880/?fbclid=IwAR3Ao_lQ48NQofFnUGkelL7rTpdn3zOH-7-onF19WIHkxjtpv1EK1V10vH0

February 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tokyo marathon cancels mass race over coronavirus scare

March race will be restricted to elite runners
News raises more concerns over Tokyo Olympics
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Runners, some wearing masks, compete on Sunday in a marathon in Kumamoto city, western Japan.
 
Feb 17, 2020
The mass participation race at the Tokyo marathon, which was expected to have 38,000 people taking part, has become the latest sporting casualty of the coronavirus. In a statement organisers confirmed the event on 1 March will now be limited to the elite field of 176 athletes and 30 wheelchair athletes.
“We have been preparing for the Tokyo marathon 2020 while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that a case of Covid‑19 [coronavirus] has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated,” they said.
Organisers said that all registered runners would be allowed to defer their entry until next year. But they would have to pay again and would also not get their money back from this year’s race. One British runner who had entered the race told the Guardian that she understood the decision but from a personal and financial perspective it was hard to take 13 days before the race.
“My husband Max and I had been planning to run the Tokyo marathon for over two years so to hear this news is gutting,” said Sarah Dudgeon, who had been hoping to run the race in under three hours.
“We understand and respect the decision but you can’t helping feeling the personal ramifications. We had trained hard through the winter and were hoping this would be the running holiday of a lifetime. As things stand, we don’t know whether the £3,000 we have paid for flights and hotels will be refunded if we decide to run the race next year.”
Last week organisers had sounded confident the event would go ahead, announcing plans to distribute surgical masks to runners and volunteers as part of preventive safety measures against the virus. They had also told the 1,800 runners from China they could defer their entry until 2021 without any penalty.
However, the continuing spread of the virus meant on Monday they had little choice but to take the drastic step of limiting the race – which doubles up as an Olympic trial for Japanese marathon runners – to just over 200 participants.
The news is bound to raise more concerns about whether the virus could disrupt the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are due to start on 24 July. So far there have been more than 70,000 cases in China, with 1,770 deaths. Last week senior officials at the International Olympic Committee insisted there was no plan B to reschedule the Games.
“There’s no case for any contingency plans or cancelling the Games or moving the Games,” John Coates, the head of an IOC inspection team, said. He added the World Health Organisation had advised him that a back-up plan was not necessary and that the Games remain “on track”.
Other experts have warned that the coronavirus-related health risks to Japan are hard to predict. “There is no guarantee that the outbreak will come to an end before the Olympics because we have no scientific basis to be able to say that,” said Shigeru Omi, a former regional director of the WHO.
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The Olympic rings are displayed in front of the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo.
 
The Tokyo marathon is the biggest sporting event to be affected by the coronavirus. In the past month the World Indoor Championships, due to take place in Nanjing, China in March, were cancelled along with the Shanghai Formula One Grand Prix.
Other sporting events to have been called off or postponed in recent months because of the virus include the Hong Kong Sevens international rugby tournament, the annual Singapore Yacht Show and almost all sports in China.
The London marathon said the situation for the race in April remained unchanged. Hugh Brasher, the event director, said: “We, along with the rest of the world, are monitoring closely the developments relating to the spread of coronavirus and noting the updates and advice given by the UK government, the World Health Organisation and other public bodies. With more than two months to go before the event on Sunday 26 April, we will continue to monitor the situation. We will keep our deferment policy under review as the situation evolves.”
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Runners compete in the 2019 edition of the Tokyo Marathon on March 3, 2019. Organizers on Monday announced that only elite runners will participate in the 2020 race due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Tokyo Marathon canceled for 38,000 runners over COVID-19 fears
Feb 17, 2020
As Japan ramps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak, one of the largest sporting events in the nation will be curtailed, with participation in the Tokyo Marathon limited to elite runners and wheelchair competitors, organizers said Monday.
Thousands of runners will no longer be able to participate in the event next month due to growing fears over a domestic outbreak of COVID-19.
 
The decision to eliminate general participation in the largest marathon in Asia emerged amid growing debate surrounding Tokyo’s preparations to host the 2020 Olympic Games in July despite the ongoing viral outbreak.
The Tokyo Marathon, which is slated for March 1, follows a roughly 42-km route that starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku and finishes at Tokyo Station.
Thirty-eight-thousand runners were set to run in the Tokyo Marathon this year. Participation will be drastically reduced by barring general participants to prevent further spread of the virus. Roughly 200 elite runners will participate in the marathon, which doubles as a qualifying race for the 2020 Games.
Marathon organizers had formed a panel of medical experts in January to devise safety measures as well as ways to prevent further spreading of the novel coronavirus.
On Friday, organizers asked Chinese residents to defer entry to this year’s marathon due to concern of the virus, which is thought to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Runners were told they would automatically qualify for next year’s marathon if they complied.
Deferred entry was offered to more than 1,800 runners of various nationalities based in China, where, as of Monday, the coronavirus has caused nearly 1,800 deaths and infected more than 70,000 individuals.
The outbreak has led to the cancelation or relocation of sporting events around the world. In January, the International Olympic Committee relocated the Tokyo 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying tournament for the Asian and Oceanic region, which was originally scheduled to take place Feb. 3-14, to the Jordanian capital of Amman.
Olympic women’s soccer qualifying slated for Feb. 3-9 was moved from Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak, to Australia, while Asian Champions League games involving Chinese clubs, including several scheduled to take place in Japan, have been pushed back to April and May.
Formula One’s Shanghai Grand Prix, originally scheduled for Apr. 19, has also been postponed.
Despite growing concerns that the novel coronavirus might impact the 2020 Olympics, organizers insist the game will go on.
After saying he was “seriously worried” the virus could dampen hype for the 2020 Games earlier this month, Yoshiro Muto, president of the Tokyo Organising Committee, backtracked and said cancelation or postponement was out of the question.
The 2020 Olympics, which will commence on July 24 with an opening ceremony, will play host to more than 11,000 athletes from over 200 nations.

 

February 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tokyo protesting against South Korea’s Tokyo 2020 radioactive Olympics posters

South Korea is definitely right in calling out this shit. No amount of lies and cover ups can bury the truth: 2020 Tokyo Olympics are the radioactive Olympics. Despite the past years gigantic PR campaign to whitewash the still ongoing Fukushima nuclear disater and all its radiation harmful consequences, claiming that all is under control, totally safe, back to normalcy, back to business. Hell no!

So, the multi-billion-dollar propaganda machine of TEPCO and the Japanese Govt is calling out South Korea for creating propaganda against their own propaganda. Again, like always, there is only one truth: radiation kills.

This time, the truth is that Olympians will get high doses of rads that are on the ground in Tokyo, in Fukushima Prefecture, and in every neighboring prefectures all the way down from Fukushima to Tokyo.

There are hot spots all over Eastern Japan. So many of these hotspots have been well documented by folks like you and me, as Japanese citizens had to organized themselves and learned to protect themselves by mapping the radiation present in their living environment, due to the massive campaign of denial of their government  prioritizing economics expediency over people’s health.

South-Korea-Anti-Japan-Propaganda-2020-Tokyo-Olympics-003-e1579737827651-1024x509VANK put up the posters on the walls of the new Japanese embassy on Jan. 6 before uploading images of the posters on social media. (image: VANK)

Japan’s Top Government Spokesman Protests Against Nuclear Safety Poster
 
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — The Japanese government has expressed frustration over a poster designed by the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), a Korean civic group, that questions the safety of Japan’s nuclear management prior to the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“It is not real. It shouldn’t happen,” said Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, when asked about the poster at a regularly scheduled press conference on Thursday.
“The Japanese government is mobilizing all means possible to strongly protest against such conduct.”
It is the first time that Japan’s top government spokesman revealed the government’s position on this issue by answering a question at a regular press conference.
VANK created the poster last month to raise the issue of nuclear safety following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster as the Tokyo Olympics is now just around the corner.
In the poster, the Olympic torch is depicted as carrying a radioactive material.
VANK put up the posters on the walls of the new Japanese embassy on Jan. 6 before uploading images of the posters on social media.
In response, Japan reportedly notified the South Korean government of its concern, describing the poster as intending to ‘mock’ the Olympics as well as the disaster.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to use the Olympics as a chance to publicize the government’s efforts to overcome the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.
As a part of its initiative, the 121-day Olympic torch relay in Japan will start at J-Village, a training facility for the Japanese National Football Team and former headquarters of the Fukushima Disaster Relief on March 26.
Kevin Lee (kevinlee@koreabizwire.com)
 
Suga blasts S. Korean poster of torch bearer in protective suit
 
February 14, 2020
Posters in South Korea of Tokyo Olympic torch bearers wearing anti-radiation protective suits drew a strong rebuke from Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
“The reality is totally different,” Suga said at a news conference on Feb. 13. “We can never overlook the issue.”
The Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), a private group in South Korea, created several posters depicting torch bearers wearing protective suits and the words “Tokyo 2020.” VANK posted them on its Facebook page in early January.
On its Facebook page, VANK said it created the posters to warn against radiation in Japan, apparently referring to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
“We included messages of warning about the safety of radiation, the biggest concern during the Tokyo Olympics,” the group said. “Host country Japan said agricultural products from Fukushima Prefecture are safe and announced that it will provide them for Olympic athletes.”
According to VANK’s website, the group was founded in 1999 to “properly convey South Korea to the world through the internet.”
The group opposes Japan’s use of the “kyokujitsuki” (rising sun) flag to cheer on athletes at the Games.
The Liberal Democratic Party’s Fukushima prefectural chapter slammed the posters for “fostering groundless negative publicity.”
On Feb. 12, officials of the chapter urged Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto to proactively convey accurate information about Fukushima Prefecture’s reconstruction to the international community.
(This article was written by Ryutaro Abe in Tokyo and Takuya Suzuki in Seoul.)

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan wants cruise ship infected separated from country’s total over economy fears

“Exactly what many of us suspected and understood to be happening. J-gov even got the WHO to create a separate category. Somehow the article still manages to avoid using the word “Olympics”. The newest numbers are over 200. Lost track of how many of those are Japanese citizens: around 160?? By keeping the passengers on the ship, they could claim that they weren’t really in Japan even though they are docked at Yokohama harbor in Tokyo Bay. The health and safety of passengers doesn’t seem to have been a concern. Has the ship’s ventilation system been adequately preventing the spread of virus, or promoting it? Nobody knows, since the exact ways the virus spreads hasn’t been pinned down yet, so they were certainly taking chances, endangering the lives of passengers and crew. lying about it to save face. They aren’t taking it seriously. If they took it seriously they would evacuate the passengers to a quarantine facility with isolation and negative air pressure to prevent cross-contamination. And they would test everybody. See how slow they are to gear up to be able to test more than 100 people a day? Only today Abe acknowledged that they need to test everyone and develop the ability to do 1000 tests a day. ” Special credits given to Bruce Brinkman, reporting from Japan.
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People in protective suits head to the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama near Tokyo, on Feb. 11, 2020.
 
February 12, 2020
TOKYO — As the number of people infected with the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in the Port of Yokohama continues to rise, the Japanese government has scrambled to inform media outlets to report them as separate to infected totals in Japan.
 
Tokyo’s argument is based on the assertion that the passengers are not on Japanese soil. As of 7 p.m. on Feb. 10, the number of people infected on the Diamond Princess stood at 135. Adding the currently confirmed 26 cases in Japan, the total reaches 161; the highest outside China. Concerns are rife that if the virus is perceived to be widespread in Japan, it may cause a blow to tourism and the economy.
 
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Japanese government submitted a request to the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for the separation of numbers of those infected on the cruise ship and in Japan. As a result, from the WHO’s Feb. 6 Situation Report on the virus’ spread, cruise ship infections were split off into an “other” category.
 
The health ministry has been announcing separate results for Japan-based and cruise-based infections, but many media outlets have reported them both together while including a note that it includes the numbers from the Diamond Princess.
 
At a Feb. 10 press conference, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said, “We would like to see each news organization taking into consideration the WHO’s policy of separating infected cases in Japan and on the cruise ship, and report in a way that is more appropriate to the facts.”
 
An individual connected to the government indicated their unhappiness with the situation, saying, “The cruise ship just happened to dock in Japan. If we’re going to include those figures with the number of those infected in Japan, countries will stop accepting cruises.”
 
A senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “There could be a spread in countries putting in controls against people from Japan entering, as there has been against China.”
 
But since the number of confirmed cases in Japan also includes many Japanese nationals who are believed to have been infected before coming home on government-chartered jets from Hubei Province, some criticize that the government has not been consistent in reporting the figures by claiming those on the cruise ship have not been on Japanese soil.
 
(Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Political News Department)

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

The ” task force” stage of Olympic cancellation ?

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Tokyo Olympic coronavirus task force set up

February 6, 2020

The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games has launched a task force to respond to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The organizer told reporters on Thursday that it set up the task force on Tuesday headed by Director General Toshiro Muto.

It said officials already held a first meeting and talked about the need for cooperation with relevant organizations such as the central government and Tokyo metropolitan government, as well as the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee over the virus outbreak.

They plan to discuss concrete measures to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators in the run-up to the torch relays that start in March, test events and the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

Muto said he finds no problem in holding the Games, and his committee will closely monitor the situation in a calm manner, and take every step necessary to ensure safe conditions for athletes and spectators.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200206_50/?fbclid=IwAR3ltb5he-giqSgOWS49g44G5nFeDnJp1gBhZHidvZvjNDeML5XRV44Aez0

Tokyo 2020 Organisers set up task force to counter coronavirus

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Olympics organisers have set up a task force to coordinate with public health authorities on how to respond to the growing coronavirus epidemic.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said at a press briefing on Thursday that he chaired the newly created Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures Task Force, which held its first meeting on Feb. 4. A second briefing would be held as early as tomorrow, he said.

Muto said on Wednesday that the coronavirus spread could throw “cold water” over the 2020 Games momentum. At Thursday’s briefing, he pledged that the event “would go on as planned.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-olympics-taskforce/tokyo-2020-organisers-set-up-task-force-to-counter-coronavirus-idUSKBN2001DN?fbclid=IwAR1_CgUFP19OUsZI76HPBXNn_Z2vokOkCF3cybrVDVvIHhnGRyZnlK_jjAU

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima and the 2020 Olympics

by Shaun Burnie –  5 February 2020

As 2020 is the year the Olympics and Paralympics come to Japan, this is an exciting time for sports and for the people of Japan. Amidst all the excitement however, there is the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima prefecture. Labeled as the ‘Reconstruction Olympics’, Prime Minister Abe in 2013 declared that the situation at Fukushima Daiichi was under control. Seven years later there still remains a nuclear emergency at the nuclear plant and surrounding areas. In addition to the enormous challenges of how to safely manage over 1 million tonnes of contaminated water at the site and as much as 880 tonnes of molten nuclear fuel for which there is no credible solution, there remain wider issues regarding radioactive contamination of the environment, its effect on workers and Fukushima citizens, including evacuees and their human rights.

01Greenpeace radiation survey team in Fukushima, Japan

 

These issues were the subject of a 28 January 2020 documentary

broadcast by the U.S. network HBO as an investigative report by the program ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel ’, the U.S.’s most-honored sports journalism series (with 33 Sports Emmy Awards, including 19 for Outstanding Sports Journalism) during the opening episode of its 26th season. 

What does it mean to host the Olympics and Paralympics in the context of an ongoing nuclear disaster, the effects of which are still being felt by tens of thousands of Japanese citizens? What does it tell about the Japanese government and its commitment to respecting the values of transparency and the human rights of its citizens? These are some of the important questions raised by HBO and they warrant careful consideration in the months leading up to this year’s summer games.

02Greenpeace radiation survey team in Fukushima, Japan

 

Greenpeace Japan applauds Olympic values and spirit, while recognizing that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the responsibility to ensure the Olympic Games have a minimum impact on the environment and leave a positive legacy for those hosting the Games. The IOC has an opportunity to do this in a way that fulfills the ideals of the environment as the third pillar of Olympism – sustainability – by making the Games a showcase for environmental solutions. Simultaneously, we recognize that hosting the Olympics and Paralympics requires the Japanese Government to ensure absolute safety for athletes, international visitors, and the Japanese public alike. 

The decision to host two sporting events in Fukushima city raises genuine and important questions over radiation risks. The route of the Olympic Torch relay in all the municipalities of Fukushima prefecture includes the districts of Iitate, Namie, and Okuma where Greenpeace Japan’s Nuclear Monitoring & Radiation Protection Team has discovered radioactive hotspots, both in the open areas as well as in the remaining radiation exclusion zones, that remain too high even by revised governmental standards. What does all this mean for the hosting of Olympic events, including for athletes and visitors?

03Greenpeace radiation survey team in Fukushima, Japan

 

By conducting extensive radiation investigations, Greenpeace Japan attempts to explain the complex radiological environment, where nothing is straightforward, and where judging precise risks to health at the individual level is near impossible. In an effort to better understand and explain the radiological situation in parts of Fukushima, as well as the ongoing issues of human rights for both Fukushima citizens and decontamination workers, Greenpeace Japan will be publishing its latest radiation survey results in early March 2020.

Shaun Burnie is Senior Nuclear Specialist at Greenpeace Germany.

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/28509/fukushima-and-the-2020-olympics/

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive 2020 Olympics Torch Run – WTFutaba? Beverly Findlay-Kaneko

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February 5, 2020

Radioactive 2020 Olympics Torch Relay will run through Futaba, town next to Fukushima Daiichi, near former location of PR sign, “Nuclear Power: Energy for a Bright Future.” (pictured above) Runners and tourists will NOT be wearing decontamination garb, unless they’re smart – and if they’re really smart, they won’t be there..

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Radioactive 2020 Olympics UPDATE: Beverly Findlay-Kaneko again joins us with on-the-ground information about the Olympics torch relay, including blog post interviews with former residents of Futaba, the town that hosted the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, translated from the Japanese exclusively for Nuclear Hotseat.

http://nuclearhotseat.com/2020/02/05/radioactive-2020-olympics-torch-run-wtfutaba-beverly-findlay-kaneko/?fbclid=IwAR0sanV0xfZS1dcclbbSEoacP69H4iNTozz93ghjADgFzq7_xxRS_cItKAk

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Virus poses stark challenges to Abe’s tourism goals as Tokyo Olympics loom

Some experts say the coronavirus crisis is likely to continue for several months, possibly affecting the Tokyo Olympics starting July 24 — a nightmare scenario for Abe, who has tried to use the world’s largest sporting event to promote the Japanese economy and thereby further drum up voters’ support for his government.

According to a simulation by a medical team led by Gabriel Leung, the dean of the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine, the number of infections in five Chinese mega-cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing — would peak between late April and early May, meaning the crisis would still continue further beyond that period.

 

n-inbound-b-20200201-scaledTourists stroll near Kiyomizu Temple, a popular sightseeing spot in Kyoto, on Thursday. Japan’s recent tourism boom is being tested amid the coronavirus outbreak.

January 31, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is posing myriad challenges for the Japanese economy, including a key Abe administration policy initiative — the promotion of inbound tourism.

In recent years, inbound tourism has been one of the few sectors to see rapid growth in the long-stagnant Japanese economy. Top government officials, especially Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, have touted the country’s “exploding” inbound tourism as a successful example of their “structural reform” deregulation initiatives.

In fact, everything looked to be on track until recently. The number of foreign tourists skyrocketed from 8.36 million in 2012 to 31.88 million in 2019, largely thanks to the yen’s depreciation and Suga’s initiative to ease Japan’s visa conditions for tourists from other Asian countries, most notably China.

Total spending by foreign tourists in Japan likewise surged from an estimated ¥1.1 trillion to ¥4.8 trillion during the same period, with Chinese tourists spending as much as 36.8 percent of total tourism expenditures in 2019, followed by Taiwanese at 11.4 percent and South Koreans at 8.7 percent.

It has been confirmed that the effects from inbound tourism … is turning into one of the main growth engines of the Japanese economy,” declared the Japan Tourism Agency in its 2018 white paper.

By becoming a tourism-oriented country, we have created a large and robust industry that is driving regional revitalization throughout Japan,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe boasted in his annual policy speech in January last year.

But that rosy vision of “a tourism-oriented country” has recently been put in doubt.

Since July, the number of South Korean tourists, typically the second-largest ethnic group among visitors, plummeted by more than 50 percent as nationalistic sentiment in both countries flared up over thorny history and trade issues.

In December, the number of tourists from the country who came to Japan stood at 248,000, down 63.6 percent from the same month in the previous year. Experts had already said it had become impossible for Abe’s government to meet its target of 40 million foreign tourists in 2020.

And then the coronavirus hit. Beijing has taken the extraordinary step to ban all Chinese from going overseas on group tours, effective Jan. 27. The number of Chinese tourists, the largest group by nationality, is expected to fall drastically as a result.

Some experts say the coronavirus crisis is likely to continue for several months, possibly affecting the Tokyo Olympics starting July 24 — a nightmare scenario for Abe, who has tried to use the world’s largest sporting event to promote the Japanese economy and thereby further drum up voters’ support for his government.

According to a simulation by a medical team led by Gabriel Leung, the dean of the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine, the number of infections in five Chinese mega-cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing — would peak between late April and early May, meaning the crisis would still continue further beyond that period.

The best case scenario, you would have something … where we go through the spring into the summer, and then it dies down,” David Fisman, a professor at the University of Toronto, was quoted as saying by media reports.

During an Upper House Budget Committee session Wednesday, Liberal Democratic Party member Motoyuki Fujii pointed out it took about six months to contain the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis in 2003, which was caused by a similar virus and infected about 8,000 people and killed 774 from Nov. 2002 to Aug. 2003.

The new coronavirus, which was first officially confirmed in Wuhan on Dec. 31, has already infected at least around 9,800 and killed 213, according to the tally compiled by the South China Morning Post as of Friday.

I’m concerned. … Now we have exactly about six months before the Olympic Games will start in July,” Fujii said.

I’d like the government to make its maximum efforts to get rid of the effects of the infectious disease by the time we will have the Olympic Games,” he added.

In response, Seiko Hashimoto, the minister in charge of the Olympics and Paralympics, said that “measures against infectious diseases including the new coronavirus are very important” in organizing the event.

I believe safety and the sense of security must be ensured to make the Tokyo Olympics successful,” Hashimoto said.

It is still probably too early to predict any effects on the Tokyo Games, as many key details of the new coronavirus still remain unknown.

But the outbreak has also highlighted a legal loophole and Japan’s apparent unpreparedness to deal with serious outbreaks of infectious disease in general.

Medical experts were shocked to learn that a carrier of the novel coronavirus could infect others even during the incubation period, when no symptoms are apparent. However, under the law, quarantine officers are not allowed to force a person showing no symptoms to undergo a medical test to determine whether that person is a carrier of a designated infectious disease.

In fact, two Japanese citizens who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from Wuhan on a government-chartered airplane Wednesday refused to be tested for the virus. They went home from the airport and did not stay at a housing facility prepared by the government.

Two people have refused to undergo a virus test. We tried to persuade them for hours but there was no legally binding power. It’s very regrettable,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted during an Upper House budget committee session Thursday.

On the political front, a setback in the promotion of inbound tourism is likely to deal a heavy blow to Abe as he struggles to carve out a legacy for his administration, which began in December 2012. Abe’s term as the president of the ruling LDP will expire in September next year.

His Abenomics policy mix consists of three main components: ultraloose monetary easing by the Bank of Japan, aggressive fiscal spending by the government and structural economic reforms, most notably deregulation.

Many economists have regarded monetary easing and fiscal spending as temporary measures to buy time, given the ballooning central government debt.

Structural economic reforms, in particular deregulation, is the key to achieve sustainable growth, they say, and promotion of inbound tourism has been often pointed out as one of the few successful cases of Abe’s structural reform initiatives.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/31/national/virus-abes-tourism-goals-tokyo-olympics/#.XjWiJSNCeUk

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tokyo 2020 at real risk as China coronavirus truths come to light

People worry about the possible coronavirus and completely forget the Fukushima radiation present in Tokyo, especially the radioactive contamination of the food, which risk to affect in various mannersTokyo 2020 Olympics’ visitors and athletes health.
 
The 2020 Olympics would have never been attributed to Tokyo if not some paid bribery to the Olympics committee high ranking officials and the lies that Tokyo was safe by PM Abe who needed the Olympics coming so as to whitewash the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster to the face of the whole world.
 
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A man stands in front of a Tokyo 2020 poster created by artist Tomoko Konoike, one of 20 officially selected for the Olympics and Paralympics.
January 31, 2020
War has been the only reason to prevent previous modern Olympics but revelations over Wuhan outbreak pose problem
Qualifiers have already been moved outside of China but scale of movement around region and visitor numbers add layers
Human to human contact at the Games is unavoidable. The fans are packed in tight at stadiums, athletes come into contact in the sports and, as we know from the rise in condoms given out at the athletes village at every Olympics, often outside of sporting events. No wonder that the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Alfons Hormann, has called the virus “the biggest risk” ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. “This is a serious problem because no other part of life is so dependent on international exchange than sport,” he said in Frankfurt at a meeting. Hormann also called on “affected countries and international sport to do everything possible” to find a solution. He pointed to Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, that overshadowed the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. In the end, Zika was of limited concern when Brazil hosted the Games but the potential for the Wuhan coronavirus is much worse. … Olympic boxing qualifiers have been moved from Wuhan to Amman, while the women’s AFC football event was first moved to Nanjing and then to Sydney. Meanwhile, the women’s basketball has been taken from Foshan to Belgrade. The move to Sydney for the women’s football had a deeper effect on the China team. They headed to Australia without star player Wang Shuang and starting midfielder Yao Wei. The pair are both from Wuhan and spent the Lunar New Year in the city visiting their families.
In the long history of the Olympics the Summer Games has been cancelled three times.
On each occasion since the Modern Olympics returned in 1896, it was because of war. The first world war accounted for 1916 and the second world war took out both the 1940 and 1944 Games and their sister Winter Games.
Now, as we near six months out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which run from July 24 to August 9 in the Japanese capital, it might be time to think that another one of the four horseman of the apocalypse – pestilence – could claim the next Games.
This is fuelled by revelations around the ongoing global spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus, fuelling fears of a global pandemic.
The first of those is a report published in the medical journal, The Lancet, on January 24. This study, written by researchers and doctors on the ground in Wuhan, suggests that what we all thought we knew might not be the case at all.
They are still understanding the virus and its origins. An article on Vox citing the findings reported in The Lancet suggests that the first patient was not only ill much earlier than previously published but that they had no contact with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market that had been assumed to be the epicentre.
Who knows how many people have been carrying the virus and to where since its inception?
Add to that, the number of people from Wuhan who spent their Lunar New Year in Japan, a country whose largest visitor numbers come from Chinese tourists. That’s not to mention that Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang said some five million of the 11 million populace left the city during the festive period.
Zhou has also admitted that mistakes were made at the outset when it came to this virus, while Pulitzer winning journalist and virus expert Laurie Garrett pointed out that the virus “could have been controlled fairly easily” but “now it’s too late”.
We are yet to see the aftermath of the world’s largest annual human migration that is China’s Lunar New Year celebrations but it is sure to be a factor in the spread of the disease.
Human to human contact at the Games is unavoidable. The fans are packed in tight at stadiums, athletes come into contact in the sports and, as we know from the rise in condoms given out at the athletes village at every Olympics, often outside of sporting events.
No wonder that the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Alfons Hormann, has called the virus “the biggest risk” ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
“This is a serious problem because no other part of life is so dependent on international exchange than sport,” he said in Frankfurt at a meeting.
Hormann also called on “affected countries and international sport to do everything possible” to find a solution.
He pointed to Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, that overshadowed the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. In the end, Zika was of limited concern when Brazil hosted the Games but the potential for the Wuhan coronavirus is much worse.
Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese scientist who revealed the scale and severity of the Sars epidemic in 2002-03, believes the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic is likely to reach its peak in “a week or 10 days”. Hong Kong University’s predictions put the potential peak at either late April or early May.
It seems the one thing we do know is that no one yet trulyknows the scale and severity of this outbreak.
That and it is already having an effect.
Olympic boxing qualifiers have been moved from Wuhan to Amman, while the women’s AFC football event was first moved to Nanjing and then to Sydney. Meanwhile, the women’s basketball has been taken from Foshan to Belgrade.
The move to Sydney for the women’s football had a deeper effect on the China team. They
headed to Australia without star player Wang Shuang and starting midfielder Yao Wei. The pair are both from Wuhan and spent the Lunar New Year in the city visiting their families.
China need to finish in the top two of their group to advance to the final play-off and the silver medallists of 1996 would be better served with two of their best with them in Australia.
Other Chinese athletes might also miss out on qualifying.
The Asia wrestling qualifiers, which are scheduled for Xi’an from March 27-29, could yet be moved to “Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and South Korea,” according to International Wrestling Federation President Nenad Lalovic.
He also told AFP in the same interview that should the qualifying event move then Chinese wrestlers would need to be “in quarantine” in order for them to compete.
There are many more sporting events around the region to come before the Summer Games in Tokyo but as they drop the fear is that the biggest of them all is at real risk.

February 1, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Coronavirus poses a risk to 2020 Olympics, Tokyo City Governor says

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January 30, 2020
With the Olympics approaching in less than six months, Tokyo officials are calling for action to contain the virus
With the 2020 Olympics less than six months away, there is some speculation about the possible risk from the rapidly-spreading coronavirus that has already resulted in the postponement or cancellation of at least four major international competitions. Though the possibility of the Olympics being cancelled seems unthinkable,  Tokyo City Governor Yuriko Koike was quoted yesterday by an Associated Press reporter as commenting: “With only 177 days to go and our preparations accelerating, we must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it.”
The Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo and Sapporo from July 24 to August 9. The Asian Indoor Championships (previously scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Hangzhou, China), Hong Kong Marathon (February 8) and the Gaoligong UTMB ultra (March 21 to 23 in Yunnan, China) have all been cancelled, and the World Indoor Athletics Championships, previously scheduled for March 13 to 15 in Nanjing, China, have been postponed for one year to March, 2021.
According to the World Health Organization, as of yesterday there were 6,065 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 16 countries, almost 6,000 of them in China. Some sources claim there have been 170 deaths, and there have been no deaths outside of China. There are currently three confirmed cases in Canada. Each person infected with the virus could potentially transmit the infection to two or three other people.
Many international public health authorities are downplaying the risk of transmission so as not to induce panic, while discouraging non-essential travel to Wuhan. Meanwhile, sales of surgical masks to reduce the risk of transmission have skyrocketed in many countries.
The postponement of the World Indoor Championships has interesting implications for the Olympics. With the new World Rankings system, championship meets give athletes the chance to accrue points towards Olympic team qualification, giving those who compete at World Indoor Championships a leg up on their compatriots who do not. The one-year postponement means that opportunity is no longer available before the Olympics, so the effect of the postponement is to level the playing field somewhat (assuming the Olympics go ahead as planned).

February 1, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan’s effort to downplay any #radioactive problems to health and safety and forge ahead with the Olympics

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By Laura Lynch
January 30, 2020
 Tokyo 2020 #OlympicGames In Japan’s effort to downplay any #radioactive problems to health and safety and forge ahead with the Olympics one must think they have proposed a new Olympic competition: 100 yard hurdles race over 1Ton bags of #NukeWaste
 
In Japanese they’re called フレコンバッグ, furecon bags, the first word being a contraction of flexible container stacked three/four levels high in hundreds of site in what locals apparently call “black pyramids”
 
The furecon bags are a defining feature of the #Fukushima landscape. They’re primarily used by the construction and demolition industry, though sadly they have become a symbol of the massive, ongoing intractable decontamination effort of the landscape around the #FukushimaDaiichi NPP

February 1, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , | Leave a comment

Could the Coronavirus Mean that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are Cancelled?

Japan-Flag-Medal-Silhouette-400px
24 January, 2020
Occasionally, a huge worldwide virus comes along that changes how we well go about our business.
So far, there hasn’t been a major outbreak of the so-called coronavirus on a global scale, however it is being reported that there are now two cases that have been discovered in Japan, including one in Tokyo where thousands of Chinese tourists will arrive to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
And that adds to the devastation witnessed in China, and particularly the city of Wuhan, where more than 20 people are dead and hundreds more infected, according to reports in the country.
Sporting events in the country, including Olympic qualifiers in football, boxing and athletics, have either been relocated or cancelled, while Great Britain’s basketball team – due to fly out to China for their own qualifying – are likely to be advised not to travel.
Anybody that can remember as far back as 2002/03 may well remember the SARS outbreak, which killed nearly 800 people during a pandemic that spread worldwide from its Chinese origin.
The nature of the disease, and just how quickly it spreads, will have major implications in the weeks and months to come.
We are still months shy of the Olympic Games in Japan, but with the number of coronavirus cases found there likely to increase significantly, there are concerns that the Olympic Committee may have to consider alternate plans for arguably the biggest sporting occasion in the calendar.
The hope is that the outbreak can be nullified as quickly as possible with effective treatment and periods of quarantine for the infected, however the concern is that the virus is killing healthy young people as well as the old and infirm.
Anyone who can remember SARS will know how quickly it can spread, and as such the eyes of the world are on Japan as they look to minimise the spread there.
Concern for the safety of the Olympic Games is growing, and especially so if the virus remains active in the weeks prior to the event, with millions travelling into the country from around the globe.
For now, Olympic organisers are sensibly remaining calm. “Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of our plans to host a safe and secure games,” the Tokyo 2020 committee have said in a statement.
However, the president of the Japanese Association for Infectious diseases, Kazuhiro Tateda, warned:
“We have to be very careful about what kind of infectious diseases will appear at the Tokyo Olympics.
“At these kinds of mass gatherings, the risks increase that infectious diseases and resistant bacteria can be carried in.”
The major concern – alongside the threat to life – is that the integrity of the Olympic Games will be affected if major athletes withdraw with safety concerns, as they did at Rio 2016 in the wake of the Zika virus, or that the Olympics will have to be moved from Tokyo to somewhere in the Western world, as was the case with the Women’s World Cup football back in 2003.

February 1, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment