Matsuyama becomes second city to scrap Olympics torch relay ceremony

Tokyo, April 14 2021: Matsuyama city in western Japan becomes the second area to cancel the Tokyo Olympics torch relay amid a spike in corona virus cases. The clock is ticking down the last 100 days to the Olympics begin and authorities are experiencing fresh concerns about the viability of the event.

Fukushima was the starting point for the torch relay on March 25 and it was supposed to go through Matsuyama, the hometown of golf hero Hideki Matsuyama on April 21. It was barred from public roads in the Osaka region this week, with torchbearers instead running in a closed park in front of a limited number of family and friends.

The Governor of the Ehime prefecture, Tokihiro Nakamura said, “We will cancel the torch relay in Matsuyama city. We will hold the celebration for the arrival of the flame in a way that will not involve ordinary spectators.” He added that with COVID cases on the rise, emergency medical services in the region are under extreme pressure. He said the decision has been accepted by the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.

The ongoing pandemic is playing havoc with preparations for the Olympics and fuelling uncertainty about whether the huge event can, or should, take place.

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