Olympic flame to visit 14 Japanese prefectures before torch relay
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - The Olympic flame for the postponed Tokyo Games will go on public display in 14 prefectures from November ahead of the scheduled start of the torch relay in March, sources close to the matter said Monday, Kyodo reports.
The flame will first go on show in Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan on Nov. 7 before being displayed in several locations away from the relay route, including the UNESCO natural heritage site of Shiretoko, on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
After Ishikawa, the flame will tour Mie, Ehime, Oita, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Osaka, Nara, Gifu, Fukuoka, Niigata, Kochi, Yamaguchi and Iwate prefectures through March 16.
The flame was lit on March 12 this year at the site of ancient Olympia, Greece, and arrived in Japan six days later, prior to the March 24 announcement of the one-year postponement of the games due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It was briefly displayed in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures -- which were hit hardest by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami -- before being brought to Tokyo, where it is now on display.
The public exhibition of the flame, inside a lantern, in the capital opened in September at the Japan Olympic Museum, near the new national stadium.
The torch relay will start on March 25 at Fukushima's J-Village soccer training center, which served as a frontline base of operations to battle the 2011 nuclear crisis caused by the disaster.
It will last for 121 days while traversing 859 municipalities covering all of Japan's 47 prefectures, maintaining the original schedule for each region aside from a one-day adjustment to fit next year's calendar.