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the Olympic flame leaves Fukushima against a backdrop of Covid-19 and popular mistrust

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                One after the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to a pandemic, the relay of the Olympic flame begins this Thursday, March 25.  Its departure is given about twenty kilometers from the crashed atomic power station of Fukushima, where an earthquake of force 9 on the Richter scale followed by a giant tsunami had caused, ten years ago, the fusion of hearts. three nuclear reactors.
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                                    <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>By choosing Fukushima to kick off the relay of the Olympic torch, the government wants to show the world the recovered health of the region devastated by the natural disaster and the nuclear accident.</span></span></span></span></span></span>

► To read also : Despite the Covid-19, Japan “determined” to organize the Olympic Games in 2021

But most of the Fukushima evacuees refuse to play the game of “ Reconstruction Olympics “. Despite all efforts to decontaminate the area, even though the state certifies that there is no risk to health, only a minority of the evacuees returned to live there, the elderly. Two of the small towns closest to the plant are doomed forever.

Evacuees are losing their housing subsidies. And they ask why spend so much money on the Games instead of maintaining their grants.

Crossing Japan in four months

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After leaving Fukushima, the flame is due to travel through Japan for four months, or 121 days in total, before arriving in Tokyo on July 23 for the opening of the Games. A course under high health surveillance. The public is not allowed to attend the relay start ceremony to limit the risk of infection. The number of torchbearers is reduced to 10 000, in 2019 half a million people applied.

The flame spends two days in each of Japan’s 47 departments. The inhabitants are authorized to attend the passage of the flame. But they must wear masks: gatherings, cheers are prohibited to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Some personalities or sports champions have withdrawn from the event, starting with the first torchbearer who invoked a health problem.

A clear lack of enthusiasm

The relay of the Olympic flame is however supposed to revive the interest of the Japanese public for the Tokyo Games. It is a global event that the Japanese are preparing to receive, and their lack of enthusiasm is evident. According to polls, 80% of them prefer a further postponement of the Games or their cancellation.

The government says it is determined to keep the games going at all costs. And that annoys many people in the country, as if the Games are more important than the fight against the virus.

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Read also : Tokyo Olympics banned from foreign spectators due to Covid-19

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Source site www.rfi.fr

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