Friday March 8, 2013
IOC assured Tokyo is earthquake and nuclear safe
TOKYO: Organisers of Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics said yesterday the Japanese capital was safe, despite fears of earthquakes and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011.
A 14-member IOC team, evaluating bids by Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul for the event, heard presentations on security, medical services and environment on the final day of a four-day inspection tour.
“I have explained there is no problem at all regarding Tokyo’s air, water and food,” Teruyuki Ohno, Director of Environmental Affairs at the municipal government, told reporters.
A massive earthquake-sparked tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, some 220km of Tokyo, two years ago, sending reactors into meltdown.
Radiation was released into the environment, forcing tens of thousands of people to abandon their homes in surrounding areas.
But the government says the units are now under control.
In their candidature file sent to the IOC in January, Tokyo said radiation levels in Tokyo were “well within” international safety standards. They also underlined how a strict construction code makes buildings in Tokyo highly resistant to big earthquakes and that the Bay of Tokyo is semi-enclosed largely mitigating the impact of any tsunami.
Their presentation and Tokyo’s bid plans received high marks from the IOC evaluation commission which finished a four-day inspection yesterday.
The bid organisers were “highly professional” and preparations were excellent, said International Olympic Committee vice-president Craig Reedie and added the commission witnessed strong government support and growing enthusiasm for the bid.
“The bid committee has answered our questions sincerely and it was a very impressive effort,” he said.
The commission will next tour Madrid and Istanbul, the other two cities vying to host the Games.
The host will be selected by secret ballot in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7. — Agencies