IOC chief Bach to publicize safety of Fukushima's food, watch softball

By Takashi Waragai, staff reporter 【LAUSANNE, Switzerland】 International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach expressed his strong willingness to realize the "Olympics for Recovery" concept for the 2020 Tokyo Games while meeting with Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Oct. 10. In doing so, Bach said he intends to tell the world about the safety of food produced in Fukushima and other matters to help dispel the harmful reputation the area garnered due to the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. He also revealed he plans to watch an Olympic softball game during his scheduled visit to the prefectural government-run Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima city during the games. Uchibori explained safety measures taken on agricultural, forestry and fishery products in Fukushima and the area's spatial radiation monitoring system. Bach said the IOC should publicize Fukushima's safety and vowed to announce such updated information as radiation levels in Fukushima at such occasions as gatherings of National Olympic Committee representatives. He stressed his intention to take the lead in showing Fukushima's safety, taking into consideration previous questions including one from South Korea asked during a meeting of leaders of Olympic delegations held in Tokyo in August. In their talks, Uchibori briefed Bach on improvements being made at Azuma Baseball Stadium, the venue of some baseball and softball games during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including the laying of artificial turf. He conveyed his commitment to further building up momentum toward the Olympics, while explaining the popularity of such events as an official Eastern League professional baseball game held on Sept. 28 as an opener of the improved stadium. Bach visited the stadium in November last year before the improvements and promised Uchibori he would visit Fukushima again. In April this year, Bach met visitors including junior high and high school students from Fukushima and other areas hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake at the IOC headquarters and told them he intends to watch a game at the stadium with them. During the Tokyo Olympics, Azuma Baseball Stadium will host six softball games -- three each on July 22 and 23 -- and seven baseball games including one involving Japan on July 29. A Japan team softball game will precede all the other Tokyo Olympic competitions. 【Photo caption】Fukushima Gov. Uchibori (L) and IOC President Bach share hopes for success of the “Olympics for Recovery” (Translated by Kyodo News)