13 Apr 2011

Games moved over radiation fears

8:55 am on 13 April 2011

Fears over Japan's nuclear reactor crisis have led to six men's World League volleyball matches to be moved overseas.

The Japan Volleyball Association (JVA) says that Japan's games with Germany, Russia and Bulgaria in June had to be moved after their opponents refused to travel.

On Tuesday Japan's government raised its nuclear crisis at its stricken Fukushima plant to the same level as Chernobyl following last month's deadly earthquake and massive tsunami.

Japan were scheduled to play Germany on June the 11th and 12th in Saitama, Russia in Nagasaki on June the 18th and 19th, and Bulgaria on June the 25th and 26th in Wakayama.

Only Saitama, north of Tokyo, is realistically likely to come within risk of radiation leaks from the plant.

However, volleyball officials from the three European countries were unwilling to take the risk and informed the JVA and world governing body FIVB of their decision.

Japan will travel instead to the respective countries to play their Pool B games.

The world figure skating championships in Tokyo was the first major sporting casualty of the magnitude 9.0 quake on March the 11th.

The ensuing 10-metre tsunami killed more than 13,000 people, with over 14,000 still missing and wrought chaos to sporting events across Japan.