J-Village near Fukushima No. 1 to reopen as soccer training center

JIJI

The J-Village facility near Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will be used once again as a soccer training center, possibly from 2018, a Tepco executive said.

Stakeholders, including Tepco, Fukushima Prefecture and the Japan Football Association, have started talks to restore the original function of J-Village for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The utility has been using the facility as a base for workers at the plant since the nuclear crisis started there in March 2011.

J-Village, which has 12 soccer pitches and a hotel, had been used as a training camp site for the Japanese national soccer teams since the facility was established in the town of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, in 1997.

Tepco decided to transfer the plant worker base elsewhere after Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Olympics in September.

“We are considering handing over J-Village after cleaning it up through decontamination work,” the Tepco executive said, adding that using the facility as a training camp site would contribute to post-disaster reconstruction.

Although it has yet to be decided exactly when the facility will be returned, sources named 2018 as a possible target.