Road To The Olympic Games

Summer Sports·OLYMPIC POSTCARD

Sensing the ghosts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

On a four-hour ride to Fukushima my driver talked about traveling to Fukushima three days after the 2011 earthquake to help bring in supplies to thousands of people who lost their homes. Even 10 years later they continue to rebuild the region and rebuild their lives.

10 years later the effects of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami are still felt

Sunset over Fukushima. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

Early Wednesday morning I traveled from Tokyo to Fukushima — about a four-hour drive — to cover the Canadian women's softball team playing its first game of the Olympics, a 4-0 win over Mexico.

The CBC driver transporting me and some Radio-Canada colleagues shared stories along the drive about what it was like to be in Japan 10 years earlier, when a horrific earthquake and tsunami rocked this country in March 2011. Nearly 20,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands more were displaced. 

He told us about traveling to Fukushima three days after the earthquake to help bring in supplies to thousands of people who lost their homes — so many people lost everything. Even 10 years later they continue to rebuild the region and rebuild their lives.

We ended up getting about 40 kilometres away from where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster played out as we made our way to the stadium. There was complete devastation and heartbreak all across this area. 

Yes, the Olympics are underway and the International Olympic Committee has said repeatedly it wants the Games to be a symbol of hope. Unfortunately for the people of Japan, there is no joy or celebration here as they've been locked out of the Games because of the ongoing pandemic and state of emergency.

My trip to Fukushima was a reminder of the lives lost in that disaster and the humanity that exists outside these cordoned off venues.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Devin Heroux

CBC reporter

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

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