'Tokyo Olympics 2020 torch relay to go ahead as planned for now'

Photo: AFP

The Olympic torch relay, scheduled to begin on Thursday from Fukushima, will proceed as planned but organisers said that they will re-assess their decision in the coming days as the coronavirus pandemic escalates globally.

"The torch relay will start on March 26 in Fukushima; the plan has not changed," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.

"The situation is getting worse and worse. For now, the decision made one week ago (to proceed as planned) is still appropriate."

The coronavirus has already had a major impact on the torch relay. In what they described as a "heartbreaking" decision, organisers downscaled a ceremony on Friday to welcome the flame from Greece, keeping 200 children away.

They have also urged people following the torch to avoid forming crowds, and closed daily welcoming and departure ceremonies to the public.

The nationwide torch relay begins on March 26, starting from the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima that was used as a base for workers during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

'Tokyo Olympics 2020 torch relay to go ahead as planned for now'