Back in April of this year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee revealed its overall vision for the Olympic torch relay. Encompassed by the phrase, ‘Hope Lights Our Way’, organizers said the relay will strive to ‘bring the Japanese people together around messages of support, acceptance and encouragement of one another, while also reflecting the Olympic flame’s ability to promote peace and hope to the world.’ At that time, the specific route itself, as well as the exact ending point was still to be determined.
Now with just over 740 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony, organizers have disclosed that the Olympic torch relay will begin on March 26, 2020 in the Fukushima Prefecture, an area hit by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
“It is very significant to carry the torch of reconstruction across the country, beginning in Fukushima,” said Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike, as reported by Japan Today.
“By naming Fukushima as the starting point of the torch relay, it marks these Olympics as the Games of recovery,” Masayoshi Yoshino, Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister, said. “We would like to see survivors take part as torch runners to help people in the disaster-hit areas.”
The relay will continue to move south until it reaches the islands of Okinawa in early May, heading back up north through Kyoto on to Hokkaido in mid-June. The total journey will take 121 days, with the precise route to be announced next year. The date and the place of the Olympic Flame’s arrival from Greece will also be announced at a later point in time.