Tokyo torch relay rearranged for safety reasons

NHK -- Jun 29
Officials in Tokyo have decided to rearrange the Olympic torch relay so that the flame is not carried on public roads in the capital for at least the first eight days of the event. The relay will go ahead in Tokyo's island regions.

The relay was originally laid out so that it would pass through all of Tokyo's municipalities, including distant islands, between July 9 and July 23 -- the opening day of the Games.

Officials of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and local municipalities decided not to have the torch carried on public roads in Setagaya Ward and the entire Tama area. The relay was supposed to pass through these areas through July 16. They cited the spread of coronavirus infections in the capital as the reason for the decision.

Instead of the torch relay, officials are making arrangements to hold ceremonies without spectators in which torch bearers will pass on the flame.

The relay in the island regions on July 15 and 16 will pass along public streets as planned.

Officials say they will postpone a decision on the way the relay is to be conducted in the rest of Tokyo from July 17, because it is difficult to predict the infection situation. They say they will make a decision as quickly as possible.

Tokyo government officials say they have been making preparations to hold the torch relay on public roads in all sections of the host city, so the latest decision is regrettable. They add that they will proceed with preparations for the ceremonies in which torch bearers will relay the flame.