Radiation 'hot spots' detected near Olympic torch relay route

Sports | REUTERS 5 Dec 2019

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace said yesterday it had detected what it called radiation "hot spots" near the starting point for the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Fukushima.

Japan's environment ministry said the area in general was safe but added it was in talks with local communities to survey the region ahead of the Tokyo Games that open on July 24.

Greenpeace urged fresh radiation monitoring and continued clean-up efforts, saying its surveys had shown areas of high readings near J-Village, a sports complex located about 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant damaged in the 2011 tsunami.

The government is keen to use the Olympics to showcase Fukushima's recovery from the nuclear disaster and intends to use J-Village as the starting point for the Japan leg of the torch relay starting in March.

Originally designed as a training center for athletes, J-Village functioned for years as a logistics hub for crews working to control and decommission the crippled reactors.

After a clean-up process, the sports center became fully operational again in April this year.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Olympic committee plans to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games because of worries local food may be contaminated by the Fukushima disaster.

The Korea Sports & Olympic Committee plans to ship red pepper paste, a key ingredient in Korean dishes, and other food, and check for radiation in meat and vegetables that can only be sourced locally due to stringent quarantine rules, a committee meals plan report shows.

The committee plans to arrange local Korean restaurants to prepare meals for baseball and softball players competing in Fukushima, as shipping boxed lunches from Tokyo is not feasible.

It also plans to purchase radiation-detecting equipment by February and station an inspector at its own cafeteria in Tokyo during the games to check contamination levels, the committee report said.

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