TOKYO >> Paralympic flames will be lit in more than 880 municipalities between Aug. 12 and 24, up about 180 from the number announced last year, according to the Tokyo organizing committee.
Unlike the Olympic torch, which uses a flame that was lit in Olympia, Greece, the Paralympic torch will utilize flames kindled in different ways across the nation, to express diversity.
In 18 prefectures, all municipalities will hold lighting events.
The kindling of Paralympic flames will begin after the Olympics end.
Municipalities are planning to light flames in ways that reference local traditions and rituals, and convey wishes for peace and reconstruction.Some will create flames using the latest technology.
In Tokyo at an event on Aug. 20, flames from all over the nation will be merged, along with a flame from Stoke Mandeville, England, the birthplace of the Paralympics, to create a single Paralympic flame.
The torch relay will take place from Aug. 17 to 24 in the four prefectures of Shizuoka, Chiba, Saitama and Tokyo, which will host events in the Paralympic Games.
In Beppu, a flame will be kindled to honor Dr. Yutaka Nakamura (1927-1984), a Beppu resident known as “the father of parasports in Japan.” Nakamura was devoted to the development of parasports and served as the head of the Tokyo Paralympics team in 1964. In 1975, he helped launch the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled, which is known today as the Asian Para Games.
The flame in Beppu will be sparked using a nearly 5-inch lens that captures and focuses sunlight. The lens was used to start the flame of the first FESPIC event.