Tokyo says Olympic torch relay to be partially taken off public roads
Written by tokyoclub on June 29, 2021
The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will be taken off public roads in most parts of the Japanese capital during the first eight days after the segment begins next week, the metropolitan government said Tuesday, amid signs of a rebound in COVID-19 infections.
Organizers will not hold the relay on public roads in Tokyo, excluding its small island areas, between July 9 and 16, according to the metropolitan government.
Satoshi Omura, a recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, transfers the Olympic flame to a cauldron after running in the Tokyo Olympic torch relay in the Yamanashi Prefecture capital of Kofu on June 26, 2021. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
The Tokyo leg of the relay will begin after the flame passed through 46 of the country’s prefectures, with the pandemic forcing many areas to scale down their programs and not allow runners to pass the flame on the streets of their municipalities.
Tokyo, which had been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for about two months since late April, is now under a lighter quasi-state of emergency, due to end July 11.
However, since the third state of emergency ended on June 20, Tokyo has seen rising daily coronavirus cases, adding to concerns that the Olympics, set to begin July 23, could trigger a spike in infections.
For the first eight days, the relay is scheduled to take place mainly on the islands as well as the Tama area in the western suburbs of the capital’s central part.
The organizers are expected to decide at a later date a format for the relay from July 17 until the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Before the start of the 121-day relay in late March, about 10,000 runners were initially set to carry the Olympic flame in the country’s 47 prefectures.