TEPCO closes main building of J-Village used for nuclear disaster response

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) shut down on Nov. 30 the main building of the J-Village complex used as a forward base since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake to battle the ensuing nuclear accident at the utility’s Fukushima Daiichi (No. 1) plant that year and later to decommission the crippled plant. The Fukushima prefectural government and other parties concerned are seeking to restore the complex as a soccer facility, partially in the summer of 2018 and fully in April 2019, in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Work to reconstruct the complex is expected to go into full gear soon. J-Village, straddling the towns of Naraha and Hirono near the plant, was built by TEPCO in 1997 at a cost of about 1.3 billion yen as a national training center for soccer. Complete with a stadium, a hotel and other facilities, it was presented to the prefecture. After the quake and nuclear accident, the complex became a foothold for post-disaster response. But TEPCO has decided to vacate it as its Fukushima reconstruction office was relocated to Tomioka town last March and a new administrative building was put to use in October in the compounds of the damaged plant. But J-Village will continue to function until next March as a bus terminal for transporting workers, including those engaged in decommissioning operations at the plant. TEPCO will use the Energy Kan (hall) at the unaffected but suspended Fukushima Daini (No. 2) Nuclear Power Plant in place of J-Village to handle visitors to the No. 1 plant and news conferences. On the day of its closure, the main building was cleaned up, with packages and trash carried out. Its lobby, once crowded with workers, was almost empty. (Translated by Kyodo News)