October 21 - A petition containing the signatures of more than 15,000 people opposing the proposed location for the Tokyo 2020 canoe slalom course in Kasai Rinkai Park has been passed on to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The petition was launched by Shizuka Watahiki with the aim of forcing a change to the proposed venue due, what she claims, is potential environmental harm to the Park.
Watahiki claimed she does not oppose Tokyo hosting the Games, but that "a five day canoeing event for the Olympics does not justify destroying or altering a nature park that has taken 25 years to develop".
Her petition has been supported by several environmental groups, including the Wild Bird Society of Japan, as well as other activists.
It is an early controversy for Tokyo 2020 organisers following their victory in the race to host the Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Buenos Aires last month.
It also marks another problem for an Olympic canoe slalom venue after the recent furore of a possible move of the venue for Rio 2016.
In August the wildlife and animal journalist Eiki Sato wrote an open blog piece to Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose protesting that "half of the Park will be lost" as a result of the course.
"With the flick of a pen allocating millions in funding, it will destroy the nature that people have worked so hard to take back over 25 years," Sato wrote.
"I'm sure you can easily imagine that the park with a canal and nine-meter-high wall of concrete with a capacity of 10,000 spectators will not look right in this particular location."
Tokyo 2020 played down the potential impact and told insidethegames "they believe that Kasai Rinkai Park is an ideal venue for the canoe competitions".
A spokesman added: "This is given its proximity to the Olympic Village, and its suitability as a waterfront leisure venue for the people of Tokyo following the Games.
"Regarding the venue plan, we are committed to ensuring minimal environment impact, such as creating temporary spectator seats and removing them following the Games.
"Our commitment to creating a venue plan in sync with the environment remains as strong as ever.
"We will continuously implement environmental impact assessment, and hold regular discussions with the local Edogawa ward and the Wild Bird Society of Japan."
They claimed that, because the planned venue site concerns a part of the Park's green area, the Wild Bird Society of Japan had previously submitted a request to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The request "asked for them to reconsider using Kasai Rinkai Park as the Tokyo 2020 Canoe venue site."
Tokyo Metropolitan Government has so far met six times with the Wild Bird Society of Japan to discuss the issue.
This follows the news last month that Rio 2016 were considering moving the Olympic canoe slalom competition from the planned venue in the Deodoro zone in the west of the city to an existing venue 700 miles away near the Iguacu falls.
Although this would have had the advantage of ensuring lower costs, it caused consternation within the sport due to fears slalom canoeing would be pushed to the margins of the Games.
The controversial plan was subsequently dropped.
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September 2013: Exclusive: Rio 2016 considers moving canoe slalom to distant venue