The torch relay the Tokyo Olympics is finally way. The 2020 Summer Games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic but organizers have been determined to ensure they go ahead July. Members the Japan women's football team ran as torchbearers the first leg of the relay on Thursday. It began Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the triple disasters of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The relay torch is made aluminium recycled prefabricated housing built for survivors the triple calamity. Fukushima was chosen as the start of the relay to show the area has recovered, although many people say claims recovery are a little premature.
The head Japan's Olympic organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, opened the torch relay ceremony. She said her opening address: "The flame will embark a 121-day journey and will carry the hopes the Japanese people and wishes peace." Japanese people are being encouraged to look live broadcasts of the relay and refrain from travelling to watch it amid fears a spike in COVID 19 cases. Spectators must wear face masks, and are being urged to clap rather than cheer. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated his commitment to stage a "safe and secure" Olympics spite of the pandemic. He said: "We will do our utmost coronavirus measures."