2020 Tokyo Olympics can do better without asbestos

29 January 2020 10:22


The BWI along with the global movement to ban asbestos is alarmed about a report that  asbestos materials have been found in the structure of a swimming centre to be used for water polo at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In the report cited by international news agencies, it stated that the asbestos material has been found in the fire-resistant coating used at two sites on pillar supporting the roof of the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre, which opened in 1993.

“We are perplexed as to why the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the entity in-charge of the swimming facilities, did not make a full disclosure of this finding when they renovated it in 2017; and they only reacted when it was reported in the media by introducing emergency measures including covering the treated sections with sheets. 

"This work, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2020, seems to been initiated for public relations, rather than public health reasons,” said Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary.

Asbestos is considered to be a major health risk.  In 2002 Japan, announced total ban of its use. In that same year, Zenkensoren (Japan National Federation of Construction Workers’ Union) dealt with about 1,116 litigation award compensation cases of asbestos-related diseases.  About 52.7 percent of those cases involved construction workers.

“The BWI supports the position of our Japanese  affiliates that based on Japanese building standards, asbestos must be removed or contained whenever a major repair or improvement is made to a building, like that of the Tatsumi swimming centre”, concluded Mr. Yuson.

Earlier BWI has submitted two complaints – The Dark Side of Tokyo Olympics and No  More Deaths in Tokyo 2020 to TOCOG on poor working conditions in Tokyo Olympic facilities.