Part of J-Village to resume July 28, bookings to be accepted from April 1

14 February 2018

The J-Village sports complex, which saw operations suspended following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, will begin operating part of its facilities on July 28, operator J-Village Inc. announced on Feb. 13. It will also start accepting reservations for some pitches and newly built lodging quarters on April 1. J-Village, straddling the towns of Naraha and Hirono near the nuclear plant, is seeking to restore itself as a hub for exchanges in industry, the arts and various other fields as well as for sports practice and games, including soccer. Local officials concerned are pinning high hopes on the complex as “a symbol of reconstruction of the Futaba district” that comprises eight municipalities.

Scheduled to be ready for use from July are five natural grass pitches and 1.5 synthetic turf pitches near the central building of the complex. There were 11.5 pitches before the nuclear disaster. The new steel-frame accommodation building, part of which reaches eight stories high, has about 120 guest rooms and a conference hall capable of accommodating 300 people. All other facilities, including a stadium -- the main facility of J-Village -- and a roofed all-weather practice field, are slated to go into operation in the spring of 2019 when operations at the complex are set to be fully resumed.

The refurbished J-Village has built new facilities designed for rugby games and training camps in addition to the existing facilities for soccer. It is seeking to invite national rugby teams from various countries to use the complex as a training camp ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be hosted by Japan. J-Village also envisions being used as a venue for drone-flying competitions and major music festivals. Furthermore, the complex plans to promote its use as a place for exchanges among local people, such as through athletic meets.

The J-Village operator wants to make the complex a venue that attracts many people and contributes toward reconstruction of the Futaba district and Fukushima Prefecture as a whole, according to Eiji Ueda, vice president, and Shunsuke Ono, executive managing director, who spoke at a press conference held at the prefectural government office in Fukushima city to make the announcement. The prefecture is moving to have a new railway station constructed near the complex in cooperation with East Japan Railway Co. and the Futaba municipalities to improve access for visitors. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori told a regular press conference on Feb. 13 that he expects the reopened J-Village to “go a long way toward expanding the exchanges of people and dispelling harmful rumors” stemming from the nuclear mishap.

J-Village has yet to fix charges for using its facilities and other details. For inquiries, call J-Village at 0240-26-0111.

Chronology of events involving J-Village since quake/nuclear disaster
July 1997 J-Village opens as Japan’s first national soccer training center
April 2006 JFA Academy Fukushima opens
March 2011 Operations suspended following Great East Japan Earthquake. Becomes forward base for response to nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant and subsequent decommissioning work
January 2015 Reconstruction/refurbishing plans for J-Village facilities take shape
October 2016 Reconstruction work begins
March 2017 Construction work begins on all-weather practice field and new accommodation building
August 2017 J-Village operator changes name from Japan Football Village Co. to J-Village Inc.
July 2018 Part of facilities to reopen
Spring 2019 All facilities to reopen

(Translated by Kyodo News)