The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will start its journey on March 25, 2021 from the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima Prefecture and then traverse all 47 prefectures across Japan over a period of 121 days, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced.
Originally scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 this year, the Tokyo Olympics was in March postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of coronavirus. It is now set to be held from July 23 to August 8 next year.
The torch will reach Tokyo on July 9 in time for the flame to light the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony of the Games on July 23. In principle, the route and the schedule of the relay will remain as originally planned, the IOC further said.
Those previously confirmed as Olympic torchbearers will be given preference to run in next year’s Relay, the Tokyo 2020 organisers have said. Around 10,000 torchbearers are set to take part in the event.
IOC also said that as 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will aim to showcase the recovery of the areas worst affected by the disaster, in line with the relay concept of ‘Hope Lights Our Way’.
In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will additionally symbolise the light at the end of the current dark tunnel; a beacon of hope for the world in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games, themselves a symbol of the resilience, unity and solidarity of humankind, it added.