The ceremony marking the departure of the Olympic torch relay on March 25, four months before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, will be held without an audience as a precaution against the pandemic, organizers announced on Monday.
“The great start ceremony and the first section” of the route on the first day of the relay “will not be open to the public but broadcast live,” according to a statement from Tokyo-2020.
Some 3,000 people were initially to attend this departure, symbolically launched in the department of Fukushima, ten years after the triple disaster that had ravaged the northeast of the country: a very violent earthquake followed by a gigantic tsunami and a serious accident nuclear.
The number of participants from Tokyo was “substantially restricted” and the program of the ceremony “simplified”, said Tokyo-2020.
The public will however be authorized to attend the relay itself on its route through Japan, but under strict rules (no cheers and no crowds, wearing of the compulsory mask …) enacted at the end of February by the organizers. .
The crucial decision whether or not to allow overseas spectators to attend the Olympics themselves should be made before the torch relay starts.
According to local media, organizers are already leaning to ban overseas spectators due to the persistent pandemic around the world, and while vaccination in Japan is still in its infancy.
The Tokyo-2020 Olympics, postponed last year because of the coronavirus, are scheduled from July 23 to August 8.
Like these Olympics, the Olympic flame has had a chaotic course so far. Lit on March 12, 2020 in the former site of Olympia, she had seen her stint in Greece cut short due to Covid-19 and her arrival in Japan eight days later celebrated with minimum service.
Four days later, on March 24, 2020, the Games were postponed for a year. The flame has remained in Japan ever since but its public exposure has been limited due to Covid-19.