Governor Masao Uchibori gave an update on progress in the Fukushima Prefecture, where the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are playing a key role in the reconstruction of the area affected by the 2011 tsunami.
He informed the IOC that the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium is already being used. It will host baseball and softball competitions for Tokyo 2020, including the tournament opening matches. Football games will be played at nearby Miyagi Stadium.
The IOC President and Governor Uchibori also discussed the visit by a group of students from Fukushima to Lausanne on the occasion of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.
The Governor also gave reassurances on the safety issues with regard to food and radiation.
He emphasised the evaluation of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), which said: “Measures [taken by the Japanese authorities] to monitor and respond to issues regarding radionuclide contamination of food are appropriate, and the food supply chain is controlled effectively by the relevant authorities.” The Governor explained food safety is being constantly monitored by the FAO and that these levels can be considered as safe for all visitors.
Governor Uchibori explained that the radiation levels in 97.5 per cent of the Fukushima prefecture do not pose a risk and could, in fact, be compared to those found in major cities around the world. The remaining 2.5 per cent, where there is higher radiation, is fenced off and not accessible to visitors.
President Bach visited the tsunami-hit area of Fukushima in November last year with Prime Minister Abe. He met young athletes, toured some venues and witnessed the progress of reconstruction. He also saw there a number of students from the region whom he later welcomed to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. President Bach invited them to join him at a softball game to be played in Fukushima during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. These young people are part of the “Support Our Kids” programme in which the Swiss Embassy in Japan is involved, and which supports children affected by the 2011 tsunami.
The IOC President will welcome a second group of students to Olympic House in Lausanne in January 2020 during the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Many cities in the region affected by the 2011 earthquake will be a point of international sports exchanges as a “Host Town”. They will welcome teams from different countries and regions ahead of and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In another symbolic gesture, Fukushima will also stage the first leg of the Olympic Torch Relay in the run-up to the Olympic Games next July.