PHOTO PHOTO: A shadow is seen on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games logo during the Olympic and Paralympic flag raising ceremony at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo, Japan, September 21, 2016. REUTERS / Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo 2020 organizers will take “emergency countermeasures” after asbestos was found at the water polo site for next year’s Games after initially deciding not to treat it when it was discovered two years ago, according to the newspaper Asahi.

Asbestos, which was once widely used in waterproofing and insulation, has been linked to numerous health hazards including mesothelioma and other types of cancer.

The metropolitan government of Tokyo and Tokyo 2020 were not immediately reachable for comment. Much of Japan is closed for the New Year holidays.

According to the Asahi report, the Tokyo government has discovered that asbestos has been sprayed with fire retardant material on part of the structure that supports the roof of the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center.

While Japanese construction regulations stipulate that asbestos should be removed or hidden, the Tokyo government felt that the amount was not large, in stable and inaccessible conditions, so it decided to leave it, Asahi said. .

Since then, the organizers have decided to take “emergency countermeasures,” Asahi said without giving further details.

The report is the latest headache for Tokyo 2020 organizers, who have addressed concerns about the high levels of bacteria in the water in Tokyo Bay and how athletes will cope with the sweltering summer heat, which led to the shift. of the marathon event in the distant northern city of Sapporo.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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