Olympic flame lands in Japan in readiness for Tokyo Summer Games
MATSUSHIMA AIR BASE, Japan — The Olympic flame completed its difficult journey today from Greece to Japan.
It signified a small, symbolic victory for the IOC and local organizers, who maintain the Tokyo Olympics will open on July 24 amid a chorus of doubters who believe they should be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“For the first time in 56 years, the Olympic torch is heading to Tokyo and I hope that the Olympic torch will illuminate the path of hope for many people,” organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori said at a scaled-down arrival ceremony at an air base in northern Japan.
Mori was referring to Tokyo’s 1964 Olympics. Tokyo was also to have been the venue for the 1940 Olympics, which were canceled by World War II.
“We will work closely with the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government,” he said, and based on the World Health Organization’s advice, “we will ensure a safe and secure games.”
The flame, carried in a tiny canister from Greece, reached Japan aboard a white aircraft painted with the inscription “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay” along its side. The tail section was adorned with the refrain “Hope Lights our Way.”
The aircraft was welcomed on the tarmac by a small contingent of organizing committee officials.