Olympic organizers call for calm in the face of natural disasters


Coronavirus is perhaps the main risk for Tokyo Olympic Games, but Japanese organizers also face another serious danger: natural disasters.

Japan is frequently shaken by earthquakes and typhoons, which leads experts to warn that this issue, in the face of an event of great magnitude like the Olympic Games (23 July-8 August), should not be left in the background.

“For the organizers, the (sanitary) measures are an urgent challenge,” admits Hirotada Hirose, an expert in the study of disaster risks.

“But the risks of a major earthquake must not be overlooked when the Olympic Games take place in Japan,” Hirose, professor emeritus at Tokyo’s Woman’s Christian University, told AFP.

Japan finds itself in the Pacific ‘belt of fire’, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Southeast Asia across the great ocean. The archipelago also has several active volcanoes and is frequently hit by typhoons, whose season peaks in August-September.

Tokyo and its surroundings are at the junction of moving tectonic plates and some experts warn of a ‘Big One’ – a massive earthquake that could strike at any time.