The Olympic torch relay has started in Japan.
The ceremony began at the J-Village football training centre in Fukushima Prefecture, which was chosen as a symbol of its rebirth after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The first torchbearers were the Japanese women’s soccer team, who won the World Cup in Germany that same year.
The Olympic torch relay will occur across all 47 prefectures in Japan to Tokyo, where the postponed 2020 Olympic Games are due to open on July 23.
Earlier in Japan, they calculated the number of losses due to foreign spectators’ absence at the Tokyo Olympics. According to experts, the country’s budget will be missing about 150 billion yen (1.37 billion US dollars). As conceived by the Games organisers, it was planned to show tourists not only the capital but also the regions.
On Saturday, March 20, the Tokyo Olympics’ organising committee made the final decision to hold the competition without foreign fans. The measure is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also, in Japan, they fear that new strains of the virus will enter the islands.