The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) today announced the locations where the Olympic Flame will be on public display prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, which bore the brunt of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. This follows an agreement with the IOC, Japan's Reconstruction Agency and the three prefectural authorities.
The planned display is based on the concept that the Olympic Games should aid reconstruction in disaster-hit areas of Japan. It will align with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept "Hope Lights Our Way" in what will be the 10th year since the Great East Japan earthquake. Tokyo 2020 will exhibit the Olympic flame - which will be lit in Greece - in the three most affected prefectures for two days each during 20 - 25 March 2020, aiming to give the public in those areas the best opportunity to view it before the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay.
The Relay itself will commence on 26 March at the National Training Center J-Village in Fukushima. It will pass through all 47 prefectures in Japan over 121 days, giving these a chance to showcase their diverse cultural and scenic attractions.
Display Locations and Starting Point
Friday 20 March: The flame will arrive from Greece at Matsushima Airbase in Miyagi prefecture. It will be displayed at Ishinomaki Minamihama Tsunami Recovery Memorial Park, Ishinomaki city, Miyagi Prefecture
Saturday 21 March: Sendai Station East Exit, Sendai city, Miyagi Prefecture
Sunday 22 March: On board the SL Ginga Steam Locomotive Express, operated by Sanriku Railway (between Miyako, Kamaishi and Hanamaki stations, Iwate Prefecture)
Monday 23 March: Kyassen Ofunato retail and entertainment complex, Ofunato city, Iwate Prefecture
Tuesday 24 March: Fukushima Station East Exit, Fukushima city, Fukushima Prefecture
Wednesday 25 March: Aquamarine Park, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture
Thursday 26 March: Japanese leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay starts from J-Village, located in the town of Naraha and Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture
Details of Display Locations
Friday 20 March
Ishinomaki Minamihama Tsunami Recovery Memorial Park, Ishinomaki city, Miyagi Prefecture
The Minamihama district of Ishinomaki city lost 400 of its inhabitants to the tsunami and the spread of fire. Part of the site will be completed in March 2020 as a memorial and as a symbol of reconstruction.
Saturday 21 March
Sendai Station East Exit, Sendai city, Miyagi Prefecture
Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake, most railway services in Miyagi were suspended because of damage to station premises and tracks. Miyagino ward in Sendai, the location of Sendai station's east exit area, recorded the strongest seismic intensity in Sendai city. Along with the adjacent Wakabayashi ward, the nearby coastal area suffered tremendous damage as a result of the ensuing tsunami.
Sunday 22 March
On board the Sanriku Railway line and the SL Ginga Steam Locomotive Express (between Miyako, Kamaishi and Hanamaki stations, Iwate Prefecture)
The line between Miyako station and Kamaishi station on the Sanriku Railway was seriously damaged due to the Great East Japan earthquake, but it will reopen after about 8 years on March 23, 2019. JR East's SL Ginga service has been operating between Kamaishi Station and Hanamaki Station since 2014; restoration of service here was one of the key objectives of the reconstruction assistance programme.
Monday 23 March
Kyassen Ofunato retail and entertainment complex, Ofunato city, Iwate Prefecture
Ofunato City was hit by the Great East Japan earthquake, and the city center area of the city was damaged by the tsunami. In 2017, the rebuilt commercial complex "Kyassen Ofunato" opened in this area, a tsunami reconstruction and base development centre. In 2018, disaster prevention, tourism and exchange facilities were opened here.
Tuesday 24 March
Fukushima Station East Exit, Fukushima city, Fukushima Prefecture
This is the gateway to Fukushima Prefecture. It is the center of Fukushima city, the prefectural capital, and the location of the Azuma Gymnasium. A total of 110,000 people were evacuated to the Gymnasium in 2011, and the city became a major support base for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima station suffered severe damage during the earthquake and operations were suspended on all lines immediately after the disaster. However most services were restored after just one month, quickly providing much-needed transportation and communication between the metropolitan area and disaster-hit areas.
Wednesday 25 March
Aquamarine Park, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture
This is a base for sightseeing and cultural exchange in Iwaki City and the location of the environmental aquarium "Aquamarine Fukushima" and the Tourism and Commerce Center "Iwaki La La Mew". "Aquamarine Fukushima" was badly hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake; it reopened in July 2011 and has become a symbol of reconstruction of Iwaki City.
Details of Starting Point
Thursday 26 March
J-Village, Naraha and Hirono, Fukushima prefecture
In 1997, the J-Village complex was opened as the Japan's first national football training centre. After its opening, Japan's national football team had taken advantage of the facility for its training camp. However, in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, the facility was forced to cease operations, and had been used as a support base for the nuclear power plant accident. The facility has undergone a remarkable recovery and resumed its operation as a symbol of reconstruction, with newly established annex building and an all-weather training field.