This July 28, 2018 file photo shows the football stadium at J-Village, a national training center in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture
January 23, 2019
FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — A soccer facility in Fukushima Prefecture that was used as an operational base for dealing with the 2011 nuclear crisis will fully reopen on April 20 with new natural turf pitches, its operator said Wednesday.
The J-Village, Japan’s first national soccer training center, located some 20 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, served until November 2016 as a base for crisis response, accommodating thousands of workers engaged in disaster cleanup efforts.
The facility, seen as the symbol of reconstruction of the disaster-affected area, partially resumed operations in July 2018, with the opening of its main stadium, restaurants, a hotel and a conference center.
A new train station nearby named after the facility will also start operations on April 20, according to its operator East Japan Railway Co., known as JR East.
The new station, set up between the existing Kido and Hirono stations on the Joban Line, will be used only when there is a major event held at the J-Village and its vicinity.
The Joban Line still remains partially out of service due to the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. JR East is seeking to fully resume operations on the line by the end of March 2020.
The J-Village, built and donated to Fukushima Prefecture by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., opened in 1997.
It has played host to a number of different sports and will be the Japan soccer teams’ official training camp prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.