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The Olympic torch relay began its journey from Fukushima, Japan

The opening ceremony which was closed to the public was organized on a football pitch inside the J Village training complex in Fukushima on March 24. Members of the Japan women’s football team began the torch’s 120-day journey through 859 locations which will end stadium on July 23 at the Olympic stadium.

The first torch bearer was Azusa Iwashimizu a member of the Japanese team that won the women’s World Cup in the 2011 Women’s Football World Cup. The torchbearers began their journey through the sparsely populated streets in Naraha. Each runner will carry the cherry blossom –motif torch for over a distance of about 200 meters. For the next four months, the torch will be carried by about 10000 runners across Japan’s 47 prefectures.

Fukushima was chosen as the starting point for the Torch relay for a reason. Fukushima was devastated by the Earthquake of March 2011 and the effects of the ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster killing 18000 people. The city is recovering from all these that ravaged it and so it is a symbol of hardship, resilience, tragedy and triumph.

The Olympic flame was lit in Greece on 12 March 2020 and was kept alive in Japan for the past year. “The torch of Tokyo 2020 will become a bright light for hope for Japanese citizens and citizens around the world and a light at the end of the tunnel.  The small flame did not lose hope, and just like the cherry blossom buds that are ready to bloom, it was waiting for this day,’’ said Seiko Hashimoto, the head of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee.

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