Olympic flame arrives in Japan, despite uncertainty over the Olympic Games

It would be “premature” to postpone the Tokyo Olympics, despite the coronavirus pandemic, said in an interview with the “New York Times”, the president of the International Olympic Committee. The Olympic Games are expected to open on July 24 until August 9.

A festive welcome reduced to its simplest expression. The Olympic flame arrived, Friday March 20, in Japan, in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, which casts doubt on the very holding of the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled for the summer. She landed at Matsushima Air Force Base in the northeast of the country. The region was specially chosen to symbolize the reconstruction of the areas devastated by the gigantic tsunami of March 11, 2011, followed by the Fukushima nuclear accident.

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Former Olympic champions Saori Yoshida and Tadahiro Nomura lowered the flame from the specially chartered plane from Greece and transported it through an honor guard on the tarmac, inside a pink miner's lamp. After a speech by the president of Tokyo 2020, they lit the flame in a large pink metal cauldron in the shape of a flower, symbolizing the cherry blossoms eagerly awaited by the Japanese each spring.

The route of the relay across all regions of the country has been maintained, but the festivities that surround it have been severely reduced. A big departure without spectators is planned for March 26 in the Fukushima region from J-Village. No spectators either at the departures and arrivals of each stage of the relay, the welcoming ceremonies by the municipalities of the route are canceled and a temperature measurement is carried out on each torchbearer. “Avoid forming crowds”, plead the organizers in Japan, where 950 cases have been recorded, with 33 deaths. The torch must end its journey on July 24, the date scheduled for the opening in Tokyo of the most important sporting event in the world, with enormous financial stakes.

Doubt and uncertainty progress on the continuation of the event. On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) judged “no need to make radical decisions”, setting off a sling among a number of athletes. It would be “premature” to postpone the Olympic Games, insisted the IOC president, in an interview published Thursday evening in the New york times. “They should be carried over to the current situation, where athletes cannot prepare properly”, said a member of the executive committee of the Japanese Olympic Committee, in a daily interview Nikkei aired Friday.


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