No spectators allowed at Tokyo Olympic torch relay start

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FILED - A sticker alters the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 in the gym of German wrestler Frank Staebler. On Monday local organizers said the opening of the torch relay ahead of the Games would take place without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
FILED - A sticker alters the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 in the gym of German wrestler Frank Staebler. On Monday local organizers said the opening of the torch relay ahead of the Games would take place without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

dpa/GNA – Spectators have been barred from the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay to be held later this month due to persistent concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, local organizers said on Monday.

On March 25, the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee will kick off the torch relay of the postponed Games at the J-Village football training centre near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the site of Japan’s worst nuclear accident 10 years ago.

However, the opening ceremony and the first section of the 121-day relay “will not be open to the public,” the organizers said.

The ceremony will be broadcast live via a Tokyo 2020 official channel, while the relay will also be streamed live by public broadcaster NHK, they said.

The Olympic flame will be carried in turns by about 10,000 torchbearers across the nation’s 47 prefectures. The relay ends at the July 23 opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games which were delayed 12 months due to the global pandemic.

Organizers are “committed to ensuring the safety and security” of the torch relay by taking countermeasures to prevent the spread of any infections among spectators, locals, participants and staff members, they said.

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