July 9, 2018
Fukushima- The Japanese government plans to actively use the J-Village national soccer center in Fukushima Prefecture toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as a symbol of postdisaster reconstruction.
The facility is set to reopen on July 28, after being forced to close following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan as well as the subsequent nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Opened in 1997, J-Village, located in the towns of Naraha and Hirono in Fukushima, has 10 soccer pitches, a hotel and a conference center on a site of 49 hectares.
After it suspended operations, the facility served as a disaster response base, where TEPCO employees and other workers changed to protective clothing before heading to the crippled nuclear plant. They also spent nights there.
Having completed such a role, J-Village will first reopen seven soccer pitches. The facility's operator aims for full-scale reopening in April next year.
On July 30, the organizing committee for the 2020 Games will hold a board meeting at J-Village.
Before the Olympics, the Japanese national soccer teams are set to have training camps there.
The government plans to promote J-Village's use by more national teams for camps. It will also encourage municipalities that are registered to serve as "host towns" during the Olympics and Paralympics to hold exchange events at J-Village.
"The reopening (of J-Village) is one symbol of reconstruction," Shunichi Suzuki, minister in charge of the Tokyo Games, told a press conference on Friday. "I think the facility is a perfect place for our host town project." Jiji Press
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