No decision yet as world baseball-softball chief inspects Fukushima
November 20, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
KORIYAMA (Kyodo) -- World Baseball Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari stopped short of issuing a verdict after inspecting Fukushima Prefecture as a potential host site of the 2020 Olympic baseball and softball competitions Saturday.
Fraccari scouted Azuma Stadium in Fukushima City and Koriyama's Kaiseizan Stadium but insisted the purpose of his visit this time was to gather intelligence and not to reach a decision of any kind. The third city being considered is Iwaki, whose Green Stadium Fraccari has already visited.
"At the moment, I'm just collecting information of the stadiums," said Fraccari, who met Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori ahead of his stadium tours.
"The problem for Fukushima is not just the stadium. We have to check about the transportation, the facility for the teams and the schedule."
The 2020 organizing committee is looking to open the baseball and softball tournaments in the prefecture, with Japan set to play in the first game of both competitions.
Fraccari did not mention a deadline on when the competition format and the overall schedule would be made, but did say all the stakeholders would have to work fast, with the organizing committee aiming to finalize details at the Dec. 6-8 executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee.
"Yesterday, it was a good meeting with Tokyo 2020," he said. "We work very close with them, we cooperate a lot because both of us have the best interests in the Games in 2020."
"We have to work very fast because we don't have too much time. We don't yet have a fixed deadline, for sure but we have to work very, very soon towards the entire Games (plan)."
Uchibori reiterated Fukushima's willingness to stage the two sports.
"We want to express our strong desire to organize the events in Fukushima Prefecture," Uchibori said to Fraccari in his native Italian.
"It will help unite the people of Fukushima, and help unite the prefecture and the world. They're fantastic sports."
Uchibori reassured Fraccari that the radiation levels in Fukushima, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and the nuclear power plant crisis that followed, are no different to that of major cities around the world.
"In almost all areas in the prefecture, the figures are the same as any of the world's major cities," Uchibori said.