Tokyo 2020 Unveils Plan For Socially Distanced Olympic Torch Relay

Tokyo 2020 organisers stated Tuesday they’ll press forward with a nationwide, socially distanced torch relay — 100 days earlier than the Olympic flame begins its coronavirus-delayed journey round Japan. Regardless of a current spike in infections, Video games officers imagine the relay will be held safely — and in entrance of spectators — with round 10,000 runners carrying the torch round Japan’s 47 prefectures. The torch relay was postponed simply two days earlier than it was as a consequence of start earlier this 12 months when the choice was taken to delay the Video games by 12 months due to the pandemic.


Now it’ll begin on March 25, 2021, with Olympic officers to put out detailed anti-virus measures within the coming weeks.

“We wish to ensure that everybody’s well being is safe — the spectators, the torchbearers, the officers and the residents within the native areas,” stated Tokyo Video games Vice-Director Basic Yukihiko Nunomura.

“We would like the runners to smile and we would like the spectators to smile as they welcome the torch. We wish to generate pleasure so that folks actually really feel that the Tokyo Olympics are coming.”

The announcement comes after a ballot launched earlier Tuesday by nationwide broadcaster NHK confirmed a majority of Japanese folks oppose holding the Video games subsequent 12 months, favouring one other delay or cancellation of the large occasion.

Japan has seen a comparatively small Covid-19 outbreak total, however has been battling document numbers of latest instances in current weeks.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday suspended a controversial home tourism marketing campaign and urged residents to rethink New Yr journey plans.

Pointers on whether or not Olympic torchbearers might want to put on masks haven’t but been issued, however this month an interim report stated individuals might be advised to maintain their distance and chorus from speaking loudly.

Native celebrations

The Olympic flame, which had already arrived in Japan from Greece when the relay was postponed, is at the moment on show in Tokyo.

Beginning within the Fukushima area — which was hit by nuclear catastrophe after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami — it’ll crisscross Japan earlier than arriving in Tokyo for the July 23 opening ceremony.

Organisers introduced some minor adjustments to the relay route on Tuesday, however reaffirmed their dedication to visiting each a part of the nation.

“We hope that the ability of the torch relay will be uncovered to as huge an viewers as doable,” stated Nunomura.

“We additionally might be offering on-line alternatives for folks to observe the torch go round Japan, and we might be sharing that with your complete world.”

Torchbearers who have been chosen for the unique relay might be invited again subsequent 12 months, though Tokyo 2020 chiefs acknowledged not everybody might be in a position to take action.

The relay will go to 859 municipalities round Japan, with a neighborhood celebration welcoming the flame to be held on the finish of every day.

Organisers introduced adjustments to a number of celebration venues, with festivities set to be simplified in a bid to chop prices.


The postponement of the Video games has added no less than an additional $2.four billion to an already outsized funds, set final 12 months at round $13 billion.

The NHK ballot launched Tuesday reveals public sentiment has shifted little because the summer time, when surveys in Japan additionally discovered solely a minority backing plans to carry the Video games subsequent 12 months, regardless of the upcoming arrival of latest vaccines.

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