The Olympic Torch Relay will begin at J-Village ©Getty Images

Fukushima is a safe location for the Olympic Torch Relay, the prefecture's Governor has insisted as it gears up to host the beginning of the procession next month.

The area is notorious because of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was badly damaged by earthquake and a tsunami in 2011 leading to the world's worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl crisis of 1986.

However, radiation levels on the route the Olympic Flame will follow have been carefully monitored by authorities and Governor Masao Uchibori is in no doubt of the safety of participants and spectators.

"Through this ‘Reconstruction Olympics’, we would like to show how Fukushima’s reconstruction has progressed in the past nine years as the result of efforts in cooperation with the Japanese government," Uchibori said, according to the Japan Times.

However, he did acknowledge that the hosting of such an event "doesn’t mean the reconstruction has finished".

The Torch Relay will begin at J-Village, a national football training centre used as a crisis management centre in the weeks following the tsunami, on March 26.

The first Torchbearers will be members of the Japan team that won the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

A rehearsal for the Olympic Torch Relay was held last week ©Getty Images
A rehearsal for the Olympic Torch Relay was held last week ©Getty Images

Futaba, a town near the plant which was evacuated, will also be included on the route as the evacuation order is to come to an end on March 4.

That stop will be "of great significance in transmitting the current situation in Fukushima Prefecture to Japan and abroad," Uchibori has said previously.

Environmental group Greenpeace detected radiation hotspots near J-Village in December 2019, prompting authorities to remove soil from some areas.

However, "radioactive contamination at J-Village is not under control and remains complex," warned Heinz Smital, a nuclear physicist and radiation specialist at Greenpeace.

The Relay will spend three days in Fukushima and pass through all 47 prefectures in Japan over 121 days.

Around 98 per cent of Japan's population are claimed to live within one hour's travel of the proposed route.