Preparations for Olympic Flame in Tokyo
Tokyo, Dec 15 (AFP/APP): Tokyo 2020 organizers said Tuesday they will press ahead with a nationwide, socially distanced torch relay 100 days before the Olympic flame begins its coronavirus-delayed journey around Japan.
Despite a recent spike in infections, Games officials believe the relay can be held safely — and in front of spectators — with around 10,000 runners carrying the torch around Japan’s 47 prefectures.
The torch relay was postponed just two days before it was due to begin earlier this year when the decision was taken to delay the Games by 12 months because of the pandemic.
Now it will start on March 25, 2021, with Olympic officials to lay out detailed anti-virus measures in the coming weeks. “We want to make sure that everyone’s health is secure — the spectators, the torchbearers, the officials and the citizens in the local areas,” said Tokyo Games Vice-Director General Yukihiko Nunomura.
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“We want the runners to smile and we want the spectators to smile as they welcome the torch. We want to generate excitement so that people really feel that the Tokyo Olympics are coming.”
The announcement comes after a poll released earlier Tuesday by national broadcaster NHK showed a majority of Japanese people oppose holding the Games next year, favoring another delay or cancellation of the massive event.
Japan has seen a relatively small Covid-19 outbreak overall but has been battling record numbers of new cases in recent weeks.
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