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Japan Wants to Host 2020 Summer Olympics Baseball Games in Fukushima

After winning the bid to host 2020's Summer Olympics, Japan is stepping up its game by not only adding its favorite sports – baseball and softball – to the roster but also by using Fukushima as a venue.

If that name sounds familiar, it's because Fukushima was the site of a 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown caused by the powerful Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The Fukushima Daiichi plant, 150 miles northeast of Tokyo, was severely damaged and has since experienced several radiation leaks. As recently as last year, reports of radioactive water were still coming in from the site.

Despite Japan's nuclear disaster woes, Tokyo won the 2020 Olympic bid over Madrid and Istanbul in 2013, setting the Japanese capital up to host its second Olympic Games.

Now, as Japanese officials begin to prepare for the 2020 competition, there is talk of using Fukushima as a site for preliminary softball and baseball games. According to city official Hiroaki Kuwajima, this would be a positive step in getting the area back on its feet.

We are still in the process of recovery from the disaster,” Kuwajima told NBC Sports. “It would be a dream to have world-class athletes play here.”

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe currently is working to reassure the international community that Fukushima's nuclear plant situation is “under control. The country would also like to include Fukushima in its Olympic torch relay leading up to the games.

Japan hopes to make a strong impression at the 2020 Summer Olympics, not only in its management of the sporting events themselves but also by providing everything from self-driving taxis to eco-friendly medals made with recycled precious metals obtained from discarded electronics.

[Photo via Al Jazeera]

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