Tokyo insists it's "absolutely safe" as Fukushima's radiation levels surge

The city isn't giving up on its Olympic bid

By Lindsay Abrams

Published September 4, 2013 6:50PM (EDT)

Radiation readings around the water storage tanks at Fukushima have spiked by a fifth to their highest-ever levels, Japan's nuclear regulator said today. But 150 miles away in Tokyo, the city insists its own radiation levels are comparable to London, Paris and New York.

Speaking to the International Olympic Committee today, Tokyo's bid chief attempted to assuage concerns about the contaminated water leaking from the disaster site. In a letter sent to the committee a few days back, he wrote: “Life here, for all 35 million residents, is completely normal and safe and we do not foresee any change to that. The city’s air and water are monitored daily and there remains no evidence at all of any issue, as confirmed by the Japanese government.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health set up an English language website that maps radiation levels across the city and compares them to other cities:

The levels most recently recorded at Fukushima are as high as 2,200 millisieverts -- enough, according to Reuters, to kill an unprotected person within hours. They're also about 2 million times greater than those being measured right now in Tokyo. For the record, here's where the damaged reactor is located, north of Japan's capital:

It may nonetheless be difficult for people to dissociate Tokyo from the neighboring catastrophe. “The fear over the Japanese nuclear plant: I don’t think they will have time to get over that," a member of the International Olympic Committee told a Spanish newspaper. "It’s clear the people on the IOC have it in mind.”  The hosting decision will be made on Sept. 7.

Lindsay Abrams

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Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Olympics Radiation Tokyo