All Olympic venues have been reported undamaged this week after a magnitude-7.3 earthquake and 14 recorded aftershocks hit northeastern Japan on February 13.
That region includes Fukushima Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture, which were the site of the March 11, 2011 earthquake that included causing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
While the Games are centered in Tokyo, around 250km (160 miles) southwest, several events are being held in the northeastern part of Japan as part of a government effort to promote and stimulate regional reconstruction. Almost a decade later, the region is still working on rebuilding in the area.
Olympic venues in the area:
- Azuma Stadium in the city of Fukushima will host opening round baseball and softball games (capacity: 30,000)
- Miyagi Stadium, northeast of Sendai, will host Olympic soccer matches (capacity: 49,133)
- Kashima Stadium in Ibaraki Prefecture will host Olympic soccer matches (capacity: 30,000)
Also undamaged was Fukushima’s J-Village national soccer training center, which is where the Olympic torch relay is scheduled to begin on March 25. The organizing committee symbolically began the relay in Fukushima because of the disaster that happened there in 2011.
Japanese officials said this week that there is “no concern of a damage-causing tsunami” and “no anomalies” to the Daiichi plant, though inspections are continuing.
Japan is one of the world’s most seismically-active areas, accounting for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
The earthquake was felt as far away as Tokyo and left almost 850,000 households without power in northern Japan. The 2011 earthquake was a magnitude 9.0. All magnitudes above magnitude 7.0 are deemed “major earthquakes” that can cause “Serious damage” according to the earthquakes group at Michigan Tech University. There are an estimated 20 such earthquakes globally every year.
The Richter scale, used to calculate the magnitude of earthquakes, operates in powers. That means that a magnitude 9.0 earthquake is about 50 times bigger than a magnitude 7.3 earthquake and is about 355 times stronger, based on energy release.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, delayed already by the global coronavirus pandemic, are scheduled to open on July 23.
- Opening ceremonies: Friday, July 23, 2021
- Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 (evening) – Sunday, August 1 (morning), 2021
- Open water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Artistic swimming: Monday, August 2 – Saturday, August 7, 2021
- Diving: Sunday, July 25 – Saturday, August 7, 2021
- Water polo: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 8, 2021