Nukewatch Quarterly Summer 2014
Last fall, the country enduring the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe became the site of the world’s biggest sporting event when Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Addressing concerns that the capital city that will welcome millions of visitors is just 140 miles from the ongoing Fukushima-Daichii disaster, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a September news conference, “The government has already decided a program to make sure there is absolutely no problem, and we have already started.”
Apparently that program includes the clean-up of “J-Village,” a former sports complex that has been used as the main housing hub for thousands of workers struggling to control the Fukushima nuclear disaster since the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the reactor facility in 2011. Located on the fringe of the 12-mile exclusion zone around the reactor complex, J-Village was modified in 2011 to include 1,000 new dorms, a medical center, a cafeteria and decontamination facilities for workers returning from the highly radioactive disaster site.
Following the May announcement of the planned renovation, Japan’s sports minister told Japanese media: “We must improve the circumstances so that soccer players not only from Japan but also from abroad can hold training camps there in advance [of the Games].”
In a related story, last August the San Diego Chargers partnered with the Navy to hold an NFL football camp onboard the USS Ronald Reagan — the same aircraft carrier that was dispatched to within one mile of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster just days after the earthquake and tsunami caused three nuclear meltdowns and four explosions. As Nukewatch reported in the Spring 2014 Quarterly, 79 USS Reagan veterans have filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit against TEPCO, the reactor operator, based on radiation-induced illnesses (from blindness and leukemia to subsequent birth abnormalities) experienced after their exposure while onboard the ship.
Approximately 100 children aged seven to 14 from military families took part in the camp — engaging in tackling, passing and kicking drills on the deck of the ship. — ASP
— Reuters, Sept. 9; San Diego Chargers press release, Aug. 28, 2013; The Telegraph, May 14, 2014