Press release IPPNW Germany March 23 2021

Olympic show in the exclusion zone

Start of the Olympic torch relay in Fukushima on 25 March

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government should abandon the torch relay in the contaminated areas of Fukushima Prefecture as well as the baseball and softball competitions in Fukushima City. This is the demand made by anti-nuclear organisations IPPNW, .ausgestrahlt and Sayonara Nukes Berlin, on the occasion of the torch relay starting on Thursday in Fukushima. Despite the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, which started over ten years ago and is still going on, the government continues to plan on holding competitions and the torch relay in Fukushima. Despite radioactivity along the torch route, local restrictions are only due to the Corona pandemic: There will be no reception ceremonies on the route and the number of spectators during the run will be kept to a minimum.

The torch relay started from J-Village, a sports venue that has been used in recent years as the headquarters of the rescue and clean-up operations at the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Despite numerous radioactive hotspots, the torch relay leads from here directly through the exclusion zone of Fukushima, through the contaminated villages of Naraha, Kawauchi, Tomioka, Okuma, Katsurao, Namie. At the finish point of day 1, in Minami-Soma, limited ceremonies are to take place. In Futaba town, one of the cities hit worst by radioactivity, located just four kilometres from the nuclear power plant, streets and parts of the town were decontaminated at short notice last year, freshly tarred and opened to the public so that the torch relay could pass through the town on a small circular route.

"With pictures of the torch relay through the exclusion zone, the Japanese government wants to show that reconstruction efforts have succeeded, that normality has returned to Fukushima... But this supposed normality does not exist: not at the nuclear power plant site, where the damaged reactors are still not under control, nor in the villages and towns with radiation levels that are up to 20 times higher than the internationally permissible limits," IPPNW Chair Dr Alex Rosen explains.

"These are supposed to be ‘Recovery Olympics’. But recovery for whom? The vast amounts of money spent on the Olympics could have been well used to help the victims and further support the refugees with housing funds. Much more could have been spent on health care measures as well as safety in everyday life for residents, but especially for children and the youth in the area," says Yu Kajikawa from Sayonara Nukes Berlin.

"It is true that the Japanese government continues to rely on nuclear energy. But the majority of the population is against it and mostly successfully resists the restart of the reactors that were shut down after 2011" adds the spokesperson of the anti-nuclear organisation .ausgestrahlt, Jochen Stay. "Of the country's original 54 nuclear power plants, less than ten remain in operation ten years after the disaster began." 

In a joint petition by IPPNW and .ausgestrahlt, 10,819 signatories demand that the IOC and the Japanese government refrain from holding the competitions in Fukushima City and the torch relay in the contaminated areas.

We are happy to organize interviews with
Dr. Alex Rosen, Vorsitzender der IPPNW, (Gesundheitliche Folgen der Atomkatastrophe)

Jochen Stay, Sprecher von .ausgestrahlt, (Kampagne „Radioactive Olympics“)

Yu Kajikawa, Sayonara Nukes Berlin, (Anti-Atom-Bewegung in Japan)

Lara-Marie Krauße, (IPPNW), Email: Tel. 030 – 698074-15
Yu Kajikawa (Sayonara Nukes Berlin), Email:, Tel. 0176 99098444

Jochen Stay (.ausgestrahlt), Email:, Tel. 0170 9358759