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Olympics: Organizers consider shorter, cheaper torch relay

TOKYO – The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee is reviewing the torch relay for the postponed 2020 Olympics with an eye toward it taking less time to complete with greater cost efficiency, a source with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday.


With no way of knowing what the health situation will be in Japan next spring regarding the new coronavirus pandemic, organizers will be considering changes to the flame’s epic 121-day journey originally planned for this year.


Although organizers are trying to hammer out a schedule for next year’s games that closely follows the one prepared for 2020, the torch relay may see major modifications.


Instead of traveling the length and breadth of Japan in one continuous journey, the relay may be split up, traveling along different routes on the same day. Achieving that may be something of a challenge since the International Olympic Committee does not currently allow multiple routes.


With organizers facing hundreds of billions of yen in additional expenses due to the Olympics’ postponement, they are looking to cut costs where they can and the torch relay is a likely candidate for streamlining. A celebration event was due to be held in each region that the torch passed through, but organizers are now looking at dropping them from the plan.


The 2020 Olympic torch relay was scheduled to start from Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, but the games were officially postponed just two days before.


The organizing committee has indicated that any new plans will still include the 10,000 relay runners already selected and all the cultural and historic sites in the original plan.

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