The government intends to turn a national soccer training center located just 20 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into a practice facility for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, sports minister Hakubun Shimomura said May 12.
The center, named “J-Village,” spans the municipalities of Hirono and Naraha in Fukushima Prefecture and is currently used by Tokyo Electric Power Co. as a base to deal with the nuclear accident triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
“We must improve the circumstances (in the area) so that soccer players not only from Japan but also from abroad can hold training camps there in advance (of the Games),” the sports minister said in a news conference after inspecting the damaged nuclear power plant. “The government must positively back up measures for decommissioning reactors and coping with radioactive water without leaving the job entirely up to TEPCO.”
TEPCO said in January that it plans to return the J-Village training center around 2018 to the operator of the facility, which was jointly established by the Japan Football Association, the Fukushima prefectural government, TEPCO and other organizations.
“The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is a good target,” TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said at that time.
The government plans to have the Olympic training facility up and running by 2019.
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