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IAEA to Cooperate with Japan on Nuclear Security at 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Government of Japan signed an agreement today aimed at enhancing nuclear security measures for the summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The agreement follows previous IAEA support to major public events, including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2012 European soccer championship in Poland and Ukraine.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono presided over the signing ceremony at the Agency’s headquarters in Vienna. Practical Arrangements outlining the planned cooperation were signed by IAEA Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo, head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, and H.E. Mitsuru Kitano, Japan’s Ambassador to the International Organizations in Vienna.

“The IAEA has extensive experience in supporting Member States on nuclear security for major public events,” Amano said at the ceremony. “The Agency welcomes the cooperation to support the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and is already cooperating with Japan by sharing the experiences of Member States which previously hosted the Olympics.”

The details of the cooperation will be decided in due course, but the possible areas of cooperation include the IAEA offering Japanese authorities training courses, workshops, technical visits and exercises related to nuclear security, hosting preparatory technical meetings and lending supplementary radiation detection equipment. The IAEA and Japan may also exchange information related to nuclear security events as appropriate and through the cooperation, the IAEA will also benefit from Japan’s good practices on nuclear security.

“The IAEA has vast knowledge and experience in supporting preventive measures against nuclear terrorism in international sport events,” Kono said. “I warmly welcome the signing of the Practical Arrangements with the IAEA on cooperation in this area for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

In August last year, Japan hosted a regional workshop on nuclear security measures, attended by countries preparing to stage major public events. During the workshop, experiences related to nuclear security were shared, including on the implementation of measures undertaken at previous Olympic Games.

Last month, Japan participated in an IAEA Technical Visit to the Super Bowl of the U.S. National Football League in the city of Minneapolis, which enabled participants to review contemporary nuclear security measures implemented for this annual sporting event.

The IAEA serves as the global platform for strengthening nuclear security and assists Member States to prevent, detect and respond to theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer, or other malicious acts involving nuclear material or radioactive substances.

The Agency supports Member States in planning and preparing for nuclear security as part of overall event security. Last November, the IAEA and the Government of Panama signed Practical Arrangements to strengthen nuclear security measures for World Youth Day 2019, a week-long event for young Catholics that Pope Francis is expected to attend. The IAEA was also involved in efforts to ensure nuclear security at other major public events, including the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and the World Cup soccer tournaments in Germany (2006), South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014).


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