As Japan readies for the 2020 Olympic Games, a group of concerned activists is calling into question the safety of Tokyo’s proposed venues. The Citizens’ Group for Measuring Radioactive Environment at Facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics claim that the radiation levels in the 39 sporting sites they measured have been affected by the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown.
On September 7, 2013 the IOC announced that Tokyo had been chosen over Madrid to host the 2020 Olympics. The decision came in spite of the activist group’s plea in July to avoid an area they believed to be unsafe. Members told the South China Morning Post that they found cesium-137 in almost every site they tested and that these were places where there had been no trace of the element before the accident at Fukushima. The group also claimed to have measured venues showing radiation levels higher than the 0.23 microsieverts per hours set by the government to be safe, including the highest reading of 0.484 microsieverts per hour near Yumenoshima Stadium.
Safety officials are quick to point out that it is important to understand the context of the group’s readings.
“It is difficult to have this debate unless we know for sure whether this radiation is from Fukushima or whether it is naturally occurring background radiation,” Pieter Franken, founder of Safecast told the South China Morning Post.
Spokesmen for Tokyo 2020 assure the public that the city is safe. They assert that the current levels of radiation are comparable to those found in other major cities such as New York, London, and Paris. The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health continues to do their own testing and maintains that the wind and weather patterns have not carried harmful contamination from Fukushima.