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First leg of 2020 Olympic torch relay will be in Fukushima

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2020 Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima on March 26

July 12, 2018
In total denial of the omnipresent radioactive contamination risks…
Weightlifter Yoichi Itokazu, left, waves the Olympic flag while Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, second from right, waves the Paralympic flag during a Tokyo 2020 Games flag tour event at the Okinawa Prefectural Government building in Naha in this Oct. 30, 2017
TOKYO — A coordination council comprising organizations involved in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has decided that the torch relay for the 2020 Games will depart from Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, 2020, as part of efforts to encourage residents affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.
According to the Fukushima Prefectural Government, 44,878 residents still remained evacuated within and outside Fukushima Prefecture as of July 5, 2018. At a meeting of the coordination council held in Tokyo on July 12, top officials from the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the central government and other organizations agreed to pick Fukushima as the starting point.
The organizing committee had thus far given equal consideration to Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures — which were hit hardest by the March 11, 2011 disasters — in line with the banner of the “disaster recovery Olympics” it raised during its bid to invite the games to Tokyo. However, as the number of evacuees from Fukushima stands highest among the three prefectures, and the fact that the prefecture continues to face difficulties emanating from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant catastrophe, the officials decided to choose the prefecture to symbolize disaster relief efforts.
“We wanted to respect the original starting point of our bidding campaigns,” said former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who chairs the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
The council also announced the schedule for the 121-day torch relay, including seven days for the torch to travel between relay courses. Such travel between different prefectures will largely take place by car, while that to Okinawa Prefecture and Hokkaido will be carried out via ferry.
After spending three days being passed from runner to runner through Fukushima Prefecture, the torch will move to Tochigi Prefecture, then travel south to Gunma and Nagano prefectures, before heading to the Tokai and Kinki regions and the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. After reaching the southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa, the torch relay will start heading north on May 2, 2020, moving to the Chugoku, Hokuriku and Tohoku regions mainly along the Sea of Japan coast, before reaching the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido on June 14. From there, the torch relay will once again move southward, covering Iwate and Miyagi prefectures for three days each. As of late June 2018, some 5,022 Iwate Prefecture residents and 3,556 Miyagi Prefecture residents remained evacuated due to the 2011 disasters.
From Miyagi, the torch will then be transported to Shizuoka Prefecture using expressways. After a three-day leg each in Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures near Tokyo, and a two-day leg each in Yamanashi and Ibaraki prefectures, the Olympic flame will finally arrive in Tokyo on July 10. The torch will then be passed between all of the capital’s 62 wards, cities, towns and villages, including those on islands south of Tokyo’s city center, for a period of up to 15 days.
During the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the torch relay departed from Okinawa, then still under control of the United States, covering a total of four different routes. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) currently does not allow splitting courses.
The respective organizing committees set up in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures will draw up detailed route maps by the end of the year, while the Fukushima Prefectural Government will select the departure point. After the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee compiles the route plans, they will be finalized upon gaining the green light from the IOC by the summer of 2019. After the routes and the number of runners are decided, each prefecture will start selecting torch bearers.
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The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games meets on July 12 to approve the start of the 2020 Olympic flame relay.

First leg of 2020 Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games meets on July 12 to approve the start of the 2020 Olympic flame relay.
July 12, 2018
The Olympic torch relay will start in Fukushima Prefecture in 2020 to reinforce the image that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be about showcasing the reconstruction from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games approved the plan at a meeting on July 12 to have the torch relay start in Fukushima Prefecture from March 26, 2020. The relay will then travel through all prefectures of Japan before entering Tokyo on July 10, 2020.
“The struggles and sadness experienced by residents of the three hardest-hit prefectures (of the 2001 earthquake and tsunami) are tremendous,” Yoshiro Mori, the committee president, said at the organizing committee meeting. “Among the three, Fukushima Prefecture continues to be the one with the most number of evacuees.”
Each prefecture will establish a committee to organize the relay within their jurisdiction. Those committees will decide on the exact route the Olympic flame will take through their prefectures. Those courses are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The Olympic organizing committee will compile those route plans and decide on the specific course of the torch by summer 2019.
There were two proposals for the start of the Olympic torch relay.
One called for the start to be in one of the three hardest-hit prefectures from the 2011 disasters–Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate.
The other was to follow the precedent set by the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics and start the relay in Okinawa Prefecture.
The experts panel within the organizing committee that considered the two proposals pointed out that starting the relay in the Tohoku region could lead to increased expenses because of the need for measures to deal with the cold weather in late March in those prefectures.
But organizing committee members increasingly held the view that there was a need to transmit the message that the Games would be all about recovery and rebuilding from the 2011 natural disasters and accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
That led to the decision to start the relay in Fukushima Prefecture.
Under the general outline agreed to, once the flame leaves Fukushima Prefecture, it would proceed south through the northern Kanto region before moving westward to the Chubu, southern Kinki, Shikoku and Kyushu regions. The flame would be transported by ferry from Kyushu to Okinawa Prefecture and back.
The relay would then pass through the Chugoku, northern Kinki, Hokuriku and Tohoku regions before going to Hokkaido. From the northernmost main island, the relay will proceed along the Pacific coast of the main Honshu island and go through Iwate and Miyagi prefectures before making its way around the southern Kanto region and entering the nation’s capital on July 10, 2020.
In Tokyo, the relay will extend over 15 days and pass through all 23 wards as well as outlying cities, towns and villages.
While the International Olympic Committee has set a broad outline for Olympic torch relays that they should be completed within 100 days, the Tokyo organizing committee has been granted an exception, and the relay will take up to 121 days.
Before the start of the Olympic torch relay, the organizing committee will display the flame brought to Japan from the traditional lighting ceremony in Greece as the “light of reconstruction” in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
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July 19, 2018 - Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , ,

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