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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay to Start in Fukushima

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Photo: Reuters

By Liam Morgan |

Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Torch Relay will start from the disaster-hit prefecture of Fukushima on March 26 that year, it was announced today.

Organizers also confirmed the Torch Relay would last 121 days, concluding in Tokyo on the day of the Opening Ceremony on July 24.

This is comprised of 114 “operational” days and seven transportation days.

The Torch will head back in the direction of Tohoku when it visits Iwate from June 17 to 19 and Miyagi from June 20 to 22.

Reports had claimed the Organizing Committee were considering starting the Relay in Okinawa, the starting point for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Torch Relay.

The details were confirmed following a multi-party meeting between Tokyo 2020, National and Metropolitan Governments, the Japanese Olympic Committee and the Japanese Paralympic Committee here.

Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi – the three regions most affected by the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami – will all welcome the Torch as it makes its journey to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic host city.

Nearly 16,000 people died when the natural disasters struck the area seven years ago and Tokyo 2020 are embracing the worst-affected areas in several areas of their plans.

The Torch will stay in each of the disaster-hit prefectures for three days during the Relay, which carries a theme of “Hope Lights Our Way.”

It will also spend 15 days in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, starting from July 10, 2020 and three days in each of the four prefectures which will host multiple events during the Olympics – Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Shizuoka.

“With Fukushima named the starting point of the Torch Relay, the relay will be a symbol of the Olympics of recovery,” said Reconstruction Minister Masayoshi Yoshino.

“We want to use this as a global showcase for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

“In order to restore livelihoods in the disaster-struck areas, we hope that victims take part (in the relay) as Torch runners.”

Two days will be spent in each of the other 39 prefectures of Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.

Under International Olympic Committee rules, the Olympic Torch Relay is capped at 100 days but the organisation approved a request from Tokyo 2020 to extend it beyond that traditional limit.

The exact route and design of the Torch are yet to be revealed by Tokyo 2020.

“It is very meaningful that the Torch Relay will traverse the whole country, given our hope that the Olympic Games will leave their mark on future generations and provide legacies for the children of Japan,” added Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori.

“Thorough the torch relay, we would like to express our appreciation to all those across the world who have contributed to the reconstruction of the Tohoku region.

“I believe these Olympic Games will help lift the spirits of all of the people in Japan, and provide a particular boost to the feelings of people in the affected areas.”

It was also confirmed following the meeting here today that a working group would be established to determine how they set up the Olympic Cauldron at the National Stadium.

The Cauldron from the 1964 Games in Tokyo is currently housed at Ishinomaki.

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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