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IOC chief Bach to publicize safety of Fukushima's food, watch softball

11 October 2019

By Takashi Waragai, staff reporter
【LAUSANNE, Switzerland】 International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach expressed his strong willingness to realize the "Olympics for Recovery" concept for the 2020 Tokyo Games while meeting with Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Oct. 10. In doing so, Bach said he intends to tell the world about the safety of food produced in Fukushima and other matters to help dispel the harmful reputation the area garnered due to the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. He also revealed he plans to watch an Olympic softball game during his scheduled visit to the prefectural government-run Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima city during the games.

Uchibori explained safety measures taken on agricultural, forestry and fishery products in Fukushima and the area's spatial radiation monitoring system. Bach said the IOC should publicize Fukushima's safety and vowed to announce such updated information as radiation levels in Fukushima at such occasions as gatherings of National Olympic Committee representatives. He stressed his intention to take the lead in showing Fukushima's safety, taking into consideration previous questions including one from South Korea asked during a meeting of leaders of Olympic delegations held in Tokyo in August.

In their talks, Uchibori briefed Bach on improvements being made at Azuma Baseball Stadium, the venue of some baseball and softball games during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including the laying of artificial turf. He conveyed his commitment to further building up momentum toward the Olympics, while explaining the popularity of such events as an official Eastern League professional baseball game held on Sept. 28 as an opener of the improved stadium.

Bach visited the stadium in November last year before the improvements and promised Uchibori he would visit Fukushima again. In April this year, Bach met visitors including junior high and high school students from Fukushima and other areas hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake at the IOC headquarters and told them he intends to watch a game at the stadium with them.

During the Tokyo Olympics, Azuma Baseball Stadium will host six softball games -- three each on July 22 and 23 -- and seven baseball games including one involving Japan on July 29. A Japan team softball game will precede all the other Tokyo Olympic competitions.

【Photo caption】Fukushima Gov. Uchibori (L) and IOC President Bach share hopes for success of the “Olympics for Recovery”

(Translated by Kyodo News)

5 October 2019

Monument, memorial tablets eyed for Olympic venue in Fukushima

Fukushima Prefecture is set to turn Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima city, the venue of some 2020 Tokyo Olympics baseball and softball games, and its vicinity into an area to be conserved and handed on to future generations as a site associated with the Games, according to prefectural government officials. It plans to build a monument using the motif of the 2020 Olympic emblem and install two memorial tablets with pictures and a chronology of the baseball and softball games to convey memories to posterity.

The 2020 Olympic Games organizing committee allows the installation of a monument only at the competition venues. The prefectural government is considering a design emphasizing the Tokyo Olympic emblem and also including baseball and softball pictograms. It will be within 200 centimeters in height, 150 cm in width and 100 cm in depth.

The memorial tablets will carry photographs of competitions at the prefectural government-run Azuma Baseball Stadium and a chronology of events surrounding the hosting as well as the Olympic symbol and a label showing the site was a competition venue. The tablets will each be about 150 to 200 cm in height and width. Their production will begin after arrangements with the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

The prefectural government aims to set up the monument in April next year so that residents and tourists can visit the site as an Olympic memorial spot even from before the beginning of the Tokyo Games. It will be placed provisionally at an adjacent auxiliary athletic field during the Games because entry to the host baseball stadium will be limited. After the Olympics are over, it will be moved to a location near the entrance of the stadium in October next year or later. The tablets are slated for completion in March 2021.

An official of the prefectural government’s Olympic and Paralympic promotion office said, “The monument will be a symbol of the Olympic competition venue. We hope it will add more excitement to the Games and be a legacy to help people remember the sensation of the Olympics even after they are over.”

(Translated by Kyodo News)

25 September 2019

Fukushima fisheries co-ops to discuss resumption of full fishing operation

The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations is set to, under a recent policy, promote discussions on issues including conditions for the full resumption of fishing operations. The policy was confirmed during a gathering of the Fukushima Prefecture Regional Fishery Recovery Council held at the Chuodai community center in Iwaki city.

The council judged it necessary to make preparations for full operations given that the central government's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters lifted shipment ban on three species – "kasago" marbled rockfish, "sakuramasu" cherry salmon and "murasoi" spotbelly rockfish -- in late August, leaving only two species – "komonkasube" ocellate spot skate and "binosugai" quahog hard clam -- subject to the restriction. The federation will discuss such issues as conditions for resumption.

Tetsu Nozaki, head of the federation, said, "We would like to discuss the issues cautiously, listening to the opinions of people including local fishermen."

(Translated by Kyodo News)

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