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Tokyo Olympic torch handover to be held behind closed doors

  • March 15, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 11:55 p.m.
  • English Press

London, March 15 (Jiji Press)–Greece’s Hellenic Olympic Committee said Sunday that a ceremony slated for Thursday to hand over the Olympic flame to the Tokyo Olympic Games organizing committee will be held behind closed doors due to concerns over the new coronavirus.


The ceremony in Athens, though with no public in attendance, was planned to be open to the media, but restrictions will be imposed on journalists other than those from the official television station, according to the HOC.


From Japan, Saori Yoshida and Tadahiro Nomura, who won gold medals in three straight Olympic Games in the women’s wrestling and the men’s judo, respectively, are scheduled to attend the handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium.


The Olympic flame was lit at a ceremony without a live audience in Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, on Thursday, kicking off the Greek leg of the torch relay.


As spectators crowded the relay route in southern Greece, however, the HOC called off the remainder of the relay in the country following consultations with the Greek Health Ministry and the International Olympic Committee.


The Olympic flame has already arrived at the Athens stadium.


After the handover ceremony, the flame is scheduled to arrive at the Air Self-Defense Force’s Matsushima base in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Friday.


The torch relay in Japan will start in Fukushima Prefecture, also northeastern Japan, on March 26. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his intention to attend the start of the relay.

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