Japan held a ceremonial kickoff for the Summer Olympics by starting a relay of the Olympic torch around the country. It was a symbolic message that the Games are going ahead despite public skepticism and pandemic restrictions that will block overseas spectators from attending.
The torch will be carried through all of Japan’s 47 prefectures, or states, by about 10,000 runners, skiers, swimmers and others, before being brought into the Olympic stadium in Tokyo on July 23 for the opening ceremony. The Olympics was delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Of course, the relay alone won’t resolve all the challenges that we’ve had, but I hope that a successful event will give everyone confidence in the steps we’ve taken to ensure we’re able to hold the Games despite the pandemic,” Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Officer Toshiro Muto said.
The relay began near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three reactors melted down in 2011. …