Site Near Olympic Torch Relay Start Decontaminated

Site near Olympic Torch Relay start decontaminated

Japan's Environment Ministry says a site near the starting point of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Fukushima Prefecture has been decontaminated, after a higher level of radiation was detected there.

The ministry said on Wednesday that it was detected at a public parking lot adjacent to the J-Village sports complex, where the torch relay will begin on March 26.

J-Village is about 20 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It used to be an operational base for decommissioning work at the plant.

After Greenpeace Japan pointed out the issue last month, the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Company surveyed the area. The utility measured a radiation level of 1.79 microsieverts per hour one meter above ground.

The figure was below the government guideline of 3.8 microsieverts per hour which would allow evacuees from the nuclear accident to return home.

But it was roughly 18 times higher than the figure of around 0.1 microsievert per hour, which is normally observed at a monitoring post in J-Village.

Tokyo Electric decontaminated the area on Monday and the radiation level reportedly dropped to 0.44 microsieverts.

The Environment Ministry says it is looking into the cause of the radiation level spike and are surveying the area closely.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will take appropriate measures once it determines what happened.