When wheelchair basketball Paralympian Akira Toyoshima takes the court at the Tokyo Games, he hopes to encourage residents of his native Tohoku region in northeastern Japan and highlight reconstruction efforts there following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The 32-year-old was working as an accountant in an office at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant when the magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck.

He vividly remembers getting out of his wheelchair and sheltering under his desk as the building shook violently and panels fell from the ceiling.