June 1, 2019
Tokyo--The 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay will pass through areas hit by major earthquakes as well as landmarks such as UNESCO World Heritage sites across Japan, the Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee said Saturday.
The 121-day relay, which will cover all of the country's 47 prefectures, is scheduled to start on March 26, 2020, at the J-Village national soccer training center in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima.
The facility was used as a local base for dealing with the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The Olympic flame will be relayed through 857 municipalities, or about 49 pct of the country's total, before the relay ends at the Olympic opening ceremony at the new National Stadium in Tokyo on July 24.
In Iwate Prefecture, the torch will visit the "miracle lone pine tree" in Rikuzentakata, which miraculously survived the huge tsunami caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011.
In Iwanuma in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, the torch will be carried through Millennium Hope Hills, which hosts a memorial park that symbolizes reconstruction from the March 2011 disaster.
The flame will also visit Kumamoto Castle in southwestern Japan, which was heavily damaged in powerful earthquakes in April 2016.
Among World Heritage sites to be visited by the flame are the Nikko Toshogu shrine in Tochigi Prefecture, the Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture and Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture.
The flame will go to Tokyo's all 62 municipalities in the last 15 days.
The torch relay will start around 10 a.m. and end around 8 p.m. every day. Detailed routes will be announced by the end of this year. Jiji Press
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