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Asbestos threat tackled at Tokyo 2020 venue

The Tokyo metropolitan government will take action after asbestos was found at the venue scheduled to host water polo events during this year’s Olympic Games in the Japanese capital, it has been reported.

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper has reported that the metropolitan government, which owns the Tatsumi Water Polo Center, was made aware of an asbestos presence at the arena in 2017.

As the threat posed by the asbestos was deemed to be low-level, no steps were taken to remove or contain the risk. The Asahi Shimbun informed the government of the issue on December 6 and on December 25 officials confirmed that steps would be taken to deal with the threat.

The newspaper notes that an asbestos inspection was carried out at the arena in 2017 ahead of renovation work. Asbestos has to be removed or contained when “major” repair work or improvement is carried out but the upgrades at the Tatsumi Water Polo Center were not deemed significant enough to warrant the removal.

However, the government has now moved to deal with the threat at the arena, which opened in 1993. The asbestos was found on a steel frame in a part of the arena that is not usually accessed by the public.

Meanwhile, Tokyo’s recently-opened National Stadium has staged its first official sports event ahead of this summer’s Olympics as Vissel Kobe defeated Kashima Antlers in the final of the Emperor’s Cup yesterday (Wednesday).

The 68,000-seat stadium officially opened on December 15 as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a completion ceremony for the venue. A capacity crowd turned out yesterday as a Vissel Kobe side containing Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Lukas Podolski ran out 2-0 winners.

The stadium will host athletics events during the Games and will also stage the finals of the men’s and women’s football tournaments, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.