Japan’s environment ministry has started comprehensive decontamination work at a soccer training center named J-Village near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Workers started cleaning up the grounds on Monday.
The facility opened as the country’s first national soccer training center in 1997. It had drawn more than one million visitors, including national team members, before the nuclear accident in March 2011.
Since the accident, the center, which is located about 20 kilometers from the damaged plant, has been used as an operation base for decommissioning nuclear reactors.
Ministry officials ordered full decontamination work at J-Village, as they plan to relocate their operation base by the end of March, 2017.
The ministry plans to continue the work until March of next year.
The Fukushima prefectural government intends to reopen the facility as a soccer training center in April 2019. It hopes to welcome athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.