The torch relay for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will begin in Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, 2020, the Olympic coordination council announced.
The council members decided to start the relay in the prefecture to showcase the reconstruction of areas severely affected by the tsunami triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the following accident at a nuclear power plant.
The torch relay will last 121 days, traveling through all 47 prefectures until the opening ceremony July 24, 2020.
Taking into consideration the possibility of there still being snow on the course in late March, the council decided to have the torch head south from Fukushima Prefecture.
The relay will move from Osaka Prefecture to the Shikoku region.
The segment in the Kyushu region will start from Oita Prefecture on April 24.
The torch will spend May 2-3 in Okinawa Prefecture — the starting point of the 1964 Tokyo Games torch relay — and return to Kyushu before going north to Honshu.
Runners will pass the torch in Hokkaido on June 14-15 and then return to the mainland on July 10, heading toward the host city of Tokyo.
The relay will mainly stay on land, using ships to cross the ocean.
Fifteen days will be spent in Tokyo and three days each in the disaster-affected prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate.
Three days each will also be spent in Chiba, Saitama and Shizuoka prefectures, which will each host at least one Olympic venue, and two days each in the rest of the nation’s prefectures.
The entire route will be announced in summer 2019, following approval from the International Olympic Committee.
Prior to the torch relay, the organizing committee will exhibit the Olympic flame brought from Athens in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures as a symbol of reconstruction.