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  • Tokyo 2020 Roundup: HBO Report Raises Fukushima Health Concerns


    (ATR) A new report is questioning how successful Japan’s campaign has been to decontaminate and repopulate Fukushima ahead of Tokyo 2020.

    Former Fukushima resident Mizue Kanno speaks with HBO Real Sports' correspondent David Scott. (HBO)
    The Real Sports program on HBO sent correspondent David Scott to Fukushima in December. He reports that thousands of nuclear refugees have returned to the disaster zone after being assured by the Japanese government that radiation levels are safe.

    Kazunori Tanaka, the minister in charge of rebuilding Fukushima for the Japanese government, tells Scott “The numbers indicate that there’s no problem and that there’s no need for people to be worried.”

    But nuclear researcher Shaun Burnie, who has been measuring levels of radiation in the area for the past nine years, says that’s not true.

    “To say that this is a situation under control is a complete lie,” Burnie tells Scott in the report.

    Japan is calling this summer’s Olympics the Reconstruction Games and wants to show that the country has fully recovered from the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that caused a nuclear meltdown.

    Burnie says the plan to start the Japan portion of the Olympic Torch Relay in Fukushima in late March “is not really a good idea”.

    “Those radioactive materials will be posing a threat to the environment, to the public for generations to come.”

    The report also reveals that the Fukushima nuclear power plant is still releasing radiation and includes a visit to a still abandoned town in the region.

    This edition of Real Sports on HBO debuted on January 28. It can be seen on demand at HBO GO and HBO Now.

    Click here to watch a short video clip from the report.

    Ariake Arena Grand Opening on Sunday

    Ariake Arena was completed in December. (Wikimedia Commons)
    Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will provide the opening remarks at the grand opening ceremony of the Ariake Arena on Feb. 2.

    Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto and Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita are among the guest speakers.

    The venue, which seats 15,000, will host the Olympic volleyball and Paralympic wheelchair basketball events.

    After the ceremony, Japan's national volleyball team and national wheelchair basketball team will present demonstrations to showcase the two sports being held at the Ariake Arena.

    About 4,500 spectators and participants are expected to attend the event.

    IPC Project Review Next Week

    The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 organizers will hold their latest Project Review meeting in Tokyo on February 5-6.

    During the Project Review in December, the IPC said it identified several issues which it wants to resolve in the coming months including a lack of accessible public transport options linking Tokyo with the cycling venues in Fuji and Izu.

    Another key priority is accessible transport planning, in particular for athletes and the media. The IPC continues to work with Tokyo 2020 on heat countermeasures and contingency planning for adverse weather conditions, including typhoon.

    Typhoon Hagibis forced the cancellation of matches during the Rugby World Cup last October. The Paralympics take place August 25 to September 6 during peak season for typhoons in Japan.

    Written by Gerard Farek

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