Tokyo 2020 organisers have confirmed the local municipalities that will participate in the Olympic Torch Relay next year.
The Relay will start its long-awaited journey on 25 March 2021 from the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima, and will travel through 859 municipalities across all 47 prefectures before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on 23 July.
"We hope that the power of the Torch Relay can be exposed to as big an audience as possible," said Tokyo 2020 vice director general Nunomura Yukihiko at a press conference. "We also will be providing online opportunities for people to watch the torch go around Japan, and we will be sharing that with the entire world."
With just 100 days to go until the start of the Relay, a special illumination of the Tokyo SkyTree will take place later that will see the famous landmark light up in Sakura and gold - the colours of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch.
"COVID-19 countermeasures will be worked on continuously for the Torch Relay. For the Torchbearers, the officials working on the programme and the citizens in the local municipalities, we want to make sure that everyone's health is secure." – Nunomura Yukihiko
As a symbol of the Olympic Games, the Olympic Flame will travel for a total of 121 days before it arrives at the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 2020, with the Organising Committee reviewing a number of COVID-19 countermeasures to ensure the events run safely and securely.
"Social distancing will be considered at the gathering spots and the Torch kiss scenes. We want to simplify the programme as much as possible and have been trying to minimise the number of vehicles and also the spectators. This Torch Relay will go all over Japan and there will be a lot of participants so we want to maximise our efforts to prevent the COVID-19 spread and take sufficient countermeasures," Nunomura explained.
Details of the Olympic Torch Relay route and celebration sites along the way are available on Tokyo 2020, with a more detailed route available from February 2021.