Olympic flame to go on display in disaster-hit areas in East Japan as “Hope Lights our Way”
The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has announced that the Olympic flame will arrive in East Japan on 20 March 2020, where it will be displayed in the areas most affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami ahead of the Olympic Torch Relay.
The theme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay is “Hope Lights Our Way”, and the display of the Olympic flame dovetails with the concept that the Games should help aid reconstruction in disaster-hit areas of Japan.
Tokyo 2020 will exhibit the flame, which will be lit in Greece, in the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the areas most affected by the disaster, for two days each from 20 to 25 March 2020, before the Relay commences on 26 March.
The Olympic flame will arrive from Greece at Matsushima Airbase, Miyagi prefecture, where it will be displayed at Ishinomaki Minamihama Tsunami Recovery Memorial Park, Ishinomaki City, a district where 400 people lost their lives.
It will then move to Sendai Station East Exit, Sendai City, Miyagi prefecture on 21 March, before being displayed aboard the SL Ginga Steam Locomotive Express the following day.
The flame will then move on to Kyassen Ofunato retail and entertainment complex, Ofunato City, Iwate prefecture, before going on display at Fukushima Station East Exit, Fukushima City, on 24 March.
Fukushima is the prefectural capital and home to the Azuma Gymnasium, to which 110,000 people were evacuated in 2011.
The Olympic flame will then visit Aquamarine Park, Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture. The park was badly damaged by the earthquake and became a symbol of reconstruction upon its reopening in July 2011.
The Relay will then commence on 26 March at the J-Village national football training centre in Fukushima.
It will pass through all 47 prefectures in Japan over 121 days, showcasing diverse cultural and scenic attractions in each region.