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Anti-Olympics groups want more attention put on event’s downfalls via Kyodo News

By Toma Mochizuki

Anti-Olympics groups on Tuesday called for the end to the quadrennial international sports event, highlighting the situation surrounding Japan’s disaster-struck Fukushima and its connection to the games, as well as the overall displacement of residents within host cities.

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The press conference was held by former professional athlete and academic Jules Boykoff, Misako Ichimura, a member of an anti-Tokyo Olympics group and Anne Orchier, a member of a group opposing the 2028 Los Angeles games.

Ichimura, of Hangorin no kai NoOlympics 2020, emphasized the negative impact the upcoming Olympics has had on residents, including how about 230 households were told in 2012 to move out of their homes after authorities decided to tear down the Toei Kasumigaoka apartment bloc in central Tokyo, to make way for a new stadium.

She also touched on the plight of people in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

“The Tokyo Olympics are trying to demonstrate that the ongoing issues in Fukushima have already been resolved, but those affected by the disasters are still suffering,” she said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

Boykoff, who traveled to the prefecture on Monday and met with local officials, agreed with Ichimura’s sentiments, calling the visit “one of the most intense experiences of my life.”

Boykoff said he learned from a local politician during his trip that reconstruction efforts have been slow and nuclear radiation levels in some areas in the northeastern region remain high.

“To return to Tokyo afterward and see all the money plunged into the Olympics while people still suffer in Fukushima was mind-blowing for me,” he said.

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