May 26, 2019
Tokyo- The "miracle lone pine tree" and Kumamoto Castle will likely be among disaster-related monuments to be visited by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch, it has been learned.
The pine tree in the city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, miraculously survived the huge tsunami caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake in March 2011. The castle in the southwestern Japan city of Kumamoto was heavily damaged by powerful earthquakes in April 2016.
During its 121-day relay, the Olympic flame will visit locations in all 47 prefectures of Japan, including sites symbolizing postdisaster reconstruction and UNESCO World Heritage sites. The list of the locations will be announced on Saturday.
Among World Heritage sites possibly to be chosen for the torch relay are the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in the western city of Hiroshima, Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto shrine on the island of Miyajima in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture, Himeji Castle in the city of Himeji in the western prefecture of Hyogo, and the Nirayama reverberatory furnaces in the city of Izunokuni in the central prefecture of Shizuoka, informed sources said.
Other famed sites to be visited by the Olympic torch will likely include Amanohashidate, a sandbar in the city of Miyazu in the western prefecture of Kyoto and one of the country's so-called three most scenic spots, the Tottori Sand Dunes in the western city of Tottori, the Kintai Bridge, a historical wooden arch bridge in the city of Iwakuni in the western prefecture of Yamaguchi, and the National Ainu Museum and Park, which is set to open in the town of Shiraoi in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in April 2020 as a base to give people opportunities to learn about the culture of the Ainu people, according to the sources.
The torch relay will start on March 26, 2020, at the J-Village national soccer training center straddling the towns of Naraha and Hirono in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima.
Fukushima is home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, where an unprecedented triple meltdown accident occurred due to damage from the March 2011 quake and tsunami.
The torch relay will last until July 24, 2020, on which the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place. Jiji Press
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