I just do not understand these people who insist on carrying out what was planned before March 11 just because... just because.
Here's one of them, Tohoku Athletic Association, who is planning to hold the 27th Annual East Japan Women's Ekiden, of all place, in Fukushima City. Fukushima TV Network is a co-sponsor, with the backing from Sankei Shinbun.
"Ekiden" is a long-distance relay where the teams run the full marathon length (42.195 kilometers) in several stages on the road, with a runner of one stage handing off the team sash to his/her team mate who will run the next stage. It is quite popular in Japan as well as outside Japan, and there is even an "ekiden" event for elementary school girls with much shorter distance. (But long enough to kill one 11-year-old girl in Saitama City during practice, and no it was not heat exhaustion.)
From Sankei Shinbun, as appeared in Yahoo Japan News (therefore don't expect the link to last very long; 9/28/2011):
It has been decided that a joint team of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefecture who suffered in the March 11 earthquake/tsunami will be entered in the 27th Annual East Japan Women's Ekiden which will be held on November 13, the sponsors announced on September 28.
The event is sponsored by the Tohoku Athletic Association and Fukushima TV Network, and backed by Sankei Sports and others. Female runners from 17 Prefectures will run in Fukushima in late autumn. In addition to the prefectural teams, the three disaster-affected prefectures will form a joint team, and run the 42.195 kilometers in 9 stages in friendship and hope for the recovery of their prefectures.
There is a concern over radiation effect from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant Accident, but according to the sponsors, "We've been measuring the air radiation level along the course, and currently it is over 1 microsievert/hour maximum. It is trending down". In preparation for the event, Fukushima City is planning to decontaminate locations including the Shinobugaoka Athletic Field which the Ekiden starts and finishes.
It is reaching the point of criminality, of knowingly exposing young women, majority of them in mid to late teens in junior high schools and high schools, to radiation higher than that of the radiation control zone in a nuclear power plant. They will run in their shorts and sleeveless tops, without the masks of course. Last year, the youngest runner was 13 years old.
Fukushima City is where Greenpeace detected cobalt-60 in a park in a residential neighborhood, where decontamination work in certain districts resulted in "raising" the radiation levels.
This is lunacy. The coaches and corporate sponsors and others with vested interest would never dream of not going to the event. But the ones that I don't understand are the parents of these underage girls. Once in a lifetime chance to run in a big event must mean so much to the parents that they are willing to send their daughters to a radiation control zone to run.