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Safe Olympics guaranteed...

 September 8, 2013


Amid radiation worries, Abe says Japan to deliver safe Olympics



BUENOS AIRES (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday Japan will deliver on its promise to make the 2020 Summer Olympics a success in a safe environment after the International Olympic Committee picked Tokyo as the host city.

"My heart was pumping (before the announcement) and I am so happy," Abe told reporters. "We will respond to the expectations and support by holding a successful Olympics. I think we conveyed the message that we can hold a safe Olympics."

Having also staged the 1964 Olympics, Tokyo will become the first Asian city to host the Games twice, overcoming concerns about the leakage of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that cast a shadow over its bid in the run-up to Saturday's vote.

To ease such radiation worries among wary IOC members, Abe said in Tokyo's final presentation before the vote that "the situation is under control."

Abe said the impact of the leak has been "completely blocked" within an area of 0.3 square kilometers in the sea from the plant, and that radiation levels, even at the maximum, stand at 0.2 percent of the World Health Organization's safety standards for drinking water.

He also said Japan's safety rules for food and water are among the world's most stringent and that the amount of radiation people across the country receive is 1 percent of the domestic standards. "I can assure you that there have never been, and will never be health problems."

The nuclear crisis has shown no signs of abating more than two years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with the latest revelation of the radioactive leak prompting South Korea to ban fisheries imports from the crisis-hit and surrounding areas.

The Japanese government has decided to step in to help the operator of the plant deal with the leakage, pledging to spend around 47 billion yen.

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose also expressed joy, saying he hopes that the Olympics will inject momentum into Japan's recovery from the natural disasters.

"It is what teamwork can do," Inose said. "We won the bid to host the games because we all joined forces." Tokyo lost out in its previous bid in the 2016 race to Rio de Janeiro.

The Olympics could also bring economic benefits to Japan, with Abe expressing hope that the games would be an opportunity for Japan to show the country has recovered and a "trigger" for boosting the deflation-mired economy amid signs of recovery.

"It goes without saying that we will secure enough funds in our budget," Abe said at a press conference with the IOC.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement that the Japanese government will make utmost efforts to deliver an Olympics that will help promote peace and international friendship through sports.

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