Tokyo Paralympic torch relay will only happen in four prefectures



Torch design for the Tokyo Paralympic torch relay at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, March 25, 2021. /CFP

The torch relay for the Tokyo Paralympics will take place only in the four prefectures co-hosting the competitions – Tokyo, Shizuoka, Chiba and Saitama – announced the organizing committee on Wednesday.

The flames will still come from Stoke Mandeville, the British birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. Instead of having them carried through all of Japan's 47 prefectures, organizers decided to host lighting festivals in more municipalities across the country between August 12 and 16. Each festival will contain a welcoming ceremony and a farewell event.

The torch relay will be carried out in the four prefectures where Paralympic Games venues are located from August 17. On August 20, all flames will be combined to make a grand torch in Tokyo. From August 21, the torch will travel around Tokyo for four days.

"We will take care of the safety of torchbearers individually based on their disabilities," said an organizing committee official.

The Paralympics will start on August 24 and end on September 5.

The Tokyo Olympic torch relay passes through a hot spring resort in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, Japan, March 31, 2021. /CFP

The ongoing Tokyo Olympic relay trough Japan has been suffering setbacks from the beginning. Not only did the flames keep going out, many torch bearers have opted out. Those still participating may have to run twice, if the organizing committee cannot find replacements.

The torch is in Gunma on Wednesday and will visit Nagano for the next two days.