TOKYO (AP) — The governor of Fukushima said Tuesday he wants the Olympic torch relay to come to the prefecture ahead of the 2020 Tokyo games so the world can see how far the region recovered from the nuclear crisis.
Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato made the proposal when he met with Yoshiro Mori, the former prime minister who heads the Tokyo organizing committee. Mori was in Fukushima as part of his tour of northern Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Sato said his idea is to show the status of Fukushima’s reconstruction accurately to the rest of the world. Mori said he will consider the request after reviewing further details.
Japanese officials are also considering reopening the J-Village as a training facility within the next few years so it can be used by foreign athletes to train during the Olympics. The facility, launched in 1997 as Japan’s first national football training facility, is only 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the Fukushima plant and currently serves as a base for thousands of plant workers.
But there are concerns that such ideas may not be popular among foreign athletes or visitors who are concerned about possible radiation effects from the plant.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant suffered multiple meltdowns following the quake and tsunami. Its decades-long decommissioning will continue through the Tokyo Games. The accident caused massive radiation to leak in the neighborhood, and about 100,000 people from around the plant are still being unable to return home due to fear of radiation contamination.