Olympic flame handed over to Fukushima in low-key ceremony

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Tokyo, April 1 (IANS) The Olympic flame was handed over to officials in the Fukushima prefecture in a low-key ceremony on Wednesday.

The flame will be on display in a lantern for the month of April in Fukushima after the Tokyo Olympics, and with it the torch relay, got postponed by a year due to the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The lantern containing the Olympic flame will be on display from April 2 until April 30, 2020, with limited public viewing available,” said the organisers as per Olympics’ official website.

The 121-day torch relay was due to start on March 26 from the J-Village due to its symbolism as being the focal point of Japan’s reconstruction following 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The facility, which is now reinstated as a training centre for young football players, was used as a base to launch recovery efforts for the coastline.

The Olympics were initially scheduled to start on July 24, 2020 and go on till August 9. In recent months, the International Olympic Council (IOC) increasingly came under pressure for maintaining its stance that the Olympics will not be postponed despite the increasing restrictions on movement of people across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Finally, on March 24, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee announced that the Games will be postponed to a date in 2021. A week after that, it was announced that the new dates for the Games is July 23 to August 8, 2021.