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Tokyo 2020 organisers approve baseball-softball in Fukushima via SBS

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture could play a part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after organisers on Wednesday approved a plan to hold part of the baseball-softball competition in the disaster-hit region.

The prefecture was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the world’s largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Baseball is returning to the Olympics for the first time since Beijing 2008 and organisers are keen to play a part in helping the region – parts of which are still uninhabitable – get back on its feet.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach raised the possibility of Fukushima opening the baseball-softball competition at the World Forum on Sport and Culture in Tokyo last month.

The prefecture is one of three proposed venues, along with the cities of Koriyama and Iwaki. The IOC will take a final decision at a meeting of its executive board in December.

Fukushima governor Masao Uchibori said he had been told by Yoshiro Mori, head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organising committee, that the process to bring the baseball competition to Fukushima had begun.

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The president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, Riccardo Fraccari, will visit Japan next week for an inspection tour of the proposed venues.

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