BUENOS AIRES: Tokyo’s hopes that continual reassurances about the city being unaffected by the Fukushima nuclear leak would allow them to focus on their bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics were dashed again on Wednesday.
Their opening press conference in Buenos Aires—where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members will vote on Saturday whether they, Madrid or Istanbul will host the Games – was dominated by questions over Fukushima and how it might affect the bid.
The bid president Tsunekazu Takeda was at pains, as he has been throughout, to insist Tokyo was not affected by the nuclear disaster sparked by an earthquake and tsunami – which also claimed the lives of more than 18,000 people–and is very much the Achilles heel of their efforts to win the Games.
“I sent a letter to them last week about Fukushima to tell them that Tokyo is very safe,” the 65-year-old said.
“The water is safe and the level of radioactivity is absolutely safe. Our Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe has officially announced that the government will be responsible for the project [clearing up Fukushima].
“I am not worried about the Tokyo 2020 bid.”
Takeda, elected as a member of the IOC last year, said that continual checking of the radiation levels in Tokyo had yielded no alarming indicators.
“The radiation level is absolutely safe. The 35 million people living in Tokyo are living in normal conditions. There is no problem.”
“Tokyo and Fukushima are almost 250 kilometers apart. We are quite remote from Fukushima.”