Fukushima Nuclear Workers' Base To Reopen As 2020 Tokyo Olympics Training Facility
J-Village, the base camp for "thousands of nuclear power plant workers" since Japan's '11 Fukushima disaster, will be "cleaned up and reopened as sports training facility in time for" the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to Danielle Demetriou of the London TELEGRAPH. J-Village is located on the "fringes of the 12 mile exclusion zone around Fukushima’s nuclear power plant and has been taken over by operators Tokyo Electric Power Company" since the March '11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Japan Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura said that the complex will now face an "extensive clean-up in preparation for its transformation into a major national practice facility for the 2020 Olympics." Shimomura: “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],” To "deal with the nuclear crisis, the site was transformed to accommodate helipads, a large medical centre, cafeteria and extensive decontamination procedures" for workers returning from the plant in their "distinct white protective suits and masks." The use of the site as a key practice venue for the 2020 Olympics is "widely supported in the region in the hope that it will contribute to post-disaster reconstruction and highlight its safety in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis" (TELEGRAPH, 5/14). The ASAHI SHIMBUN reported TEPCO said in January that it plans to "return the J-Village training center" around '18 to the operator of the facility, which was jointly established by the Japan FA, the Fukushima prefectural government, TEPCO and other organizations. TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said at that time, "The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is a good target." The government plans to have the Olympic training facility "up and running" by '19 (ASAHI SHIMBUN, 5/13).