LONDON (AP) — Just days before the vote, the leader of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics has written to IOC members, trying to reassure them the city is "completely unaffected" by the leak of radiation-contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Life is "completely normal and safe" in Tokyo and the city's air and water are not affected by the leak from the tsunami-damaged facility, Japanese IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda said in the letter.
A copy of the letter, dated Aug. 27, was obtained Monday by The Associated Press. The International Olympic Committee is to decide the 2020 host city in a vote on Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Tokyo, long considered a favorite, is competing against Madrid and Istanbul.
A 300-ton leak of radioactive water was discovered at the Fukushima plant on Aug. 19, the fifth and worst leak since the plant had triple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Officials said most of the water is believed to have seeped underground but some might have escaped into the sea.
On Monday, Japan's top nuclear regulator raised concerns about hastily built storage tanks and their foundations at the plant after signs of new leaks of radioactive water.
Fukushima is 155 miles north of Tokyo and bid officials say the leak won't affect the city's plans to host the Olympics, but the timing of the incident is not helping its chances.
"You might have seen news reports about the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant, in the northeast of Japan," Takeda said in the letter. "Please allow me to reconfirm that Tokyo remains completely unaffected.
"Life here, for all 35 million residents, is completely normal and safe and we do not foresee any change to that. The city's air and water are monitored daily and there remains no evidence at all of any issue, as confirmed by the Japanese government."