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Torch relay begins for 2020 Summer Olympics

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, wearing a face mask, applauds Azusa Iwashimizu, a member of Nadeshiko Japan, Japan's women's national soccer team, carrying the torch during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Start in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, March 25, 2021. The torch relay for the postponed Tokyo Olympics began its 121-day journey across Japan on Thursday and is headed toward the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, wearing a face mask, applauds Azusa Iwashimizu, a member of Nadeshiko Japan, Japan's women's national soccer team, carrying the torch during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Start in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, March 25, 2021. The torch relay for the postponed Tokyo Olympics began its 121-day journey across Japan on Thursday and is headed toward the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, wearing a face mask, applauds Azusa Iwashimizu, a member of Nadeshiko Japan, Japan’s women’s national soccer team, carrying the torch during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Start in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:50 AM PT – Thursday, March 25, 2021

After nearly a year of delays, the Olympic torch begins the final leg of its journey. Early Thursday morning, Japan’s women’s national soccer team took up the flame and jogged out of Fukushima for the first part of a four-month tour across the island nation.

Before it began, however, the relay was marred by controversy as torch bearers and city officials raised concerns about coronavirus restrictions. As a result, the event had a spectator-less start.

The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Seiko Hashimoto, said that in light of all that has happened in the last year, she hopes the flame can be a symbol of hope.

“I hope that the flame of the Tokyo Olympics will become a sacred, powerful and warm light that brings hope to all those around Japan,” she stated. “And a ray of light through the darkness, which connects the path to the future.”

More than 10,000 people will take turns carrying the flame over the next 121 days while visiting each of Japan’s 47 prefectures before arriving at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo for the opening ceremony on July.

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