The torch will make its way through about 98% of Japanese territory, before reaching its final destination at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo on July 23
With a year late, still in the middle of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, without the presence of a public and marked by several restrictions from health authorities, the Olympic torch relay for Tokyo Games 2020 started this Thursday, 25, in the city of Fukushima, in Japan. The starting point of the event was the National Training Center J-Village. The Japanese government wanted to use the ceremony on Thursday as a landmark for the reconstruction of the region, which lies in the north of the country and was devastated 10 years ago after a nuclear catastrophe that caused 18,500 deaths. On March 11, 2011 an earthquake, followed by a tsunami, caused the core of the three reactors to melt.
THE Tokyo 2020 Games Organizing Committee highlighted the “commitment to ensuring the safety of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay, taking steps to prevent the spread of any infection among spectators, torchbearers, officials and other participants in the relay, as well as local residents.” “The flame has continued to burn steadily as the world has faced some difficult times over the past year,” he said. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Organizing Committee, in a speech at the start of the relay, which for 121 days, approximately 10,000 people will participate.
The first kiss of theOlympic torch on Japanese soil! 🇯🇵 🔥
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020)
Japanese Azusa Iwashimizu, who lit the torch with the Olympic flame that had been preserved in a candle in Japan since last year – was lit in Greece on March 12, 2020 -, was the first to carry it across the lawns from J-Village accompanied by other members of the women’s world champion team in 2011. The first five of the 47 cities through which the Olympic flame will pass are Fukushima (from this Thursday to Saturday), Tochigi (on the 28th and 29th), Gunma (30 and 31), Nagano (April 1 and 2) and Gifu (3 and 4). The torch will make its way through about 98% of Japan’s territory, before reaching its final destination at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo on July 23, the day of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Spectators will be able to stay only on the sidelines of the race, in reduced numbers. “The residents of the region wait impatiently for this moment, many will want to get closer,” admitted Yumiko Nishimoto, one of the participants in the relay and also responsible for a project to plant 20,000 cherry trees in the region. THE International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Games recently reported that the Olympics will not have the presence of fans from other countries and will also not have foreign volunteers, except those with more specific functions.
* With information from Estadão Content