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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Reopening of outdoor skating ring

February 1, 2016

Outdoor skating rink in Fukushima town reopens for first time in 5 years


KAWAMATA, Fukushima -- An outdoor skating rink here that was closed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster reopened on Jan. 31 for the first time in five years.

The Kinu no Sato Yamakiya Skating Rink, familiarly known as the "Tanbo (rice paddy) Rink," first opened three decades ago, and is operated by locals.

After the Fukushima meltdowns triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the Yamakiya district of Kawamata where the rink stands was placed under an evacuation order. Decontamination work in the town finished in December last year, and when the town measured the airborne radiation level around the rink, it was found to be no more than 0.23 microsieverts per hour. In addition, residents have begun staying in the town in preparation to return, so officials decided to reopen the rink.

Speed skater Hiroyasu Shimizu, who won a gold medal at the Nagano Olympic Games in 1998, arrived on the opening day and passed on skating tips to children.

"I hope this once again becomes a place filled with children's laughter like before the earthquake," he said.

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