On March 20, Olympic flame was successfully delivered from Greece to the Japanese Miyagi Prefecture, which earlier in 2011 was seriously affected by the tsunami and earthquake. Local public television broadcasts the ceremony of meeting Fire around the world.
It is known that the plane arrived an hour earlier than planned. Despite this, due to weather conditions in the form of a strong wind, which disrupted movement throughout the region, the event began much later. The ceremony is attended by all important and well-known personalities, such as the chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Yoshiro Mori, also Yasuhiro Yamashita, who is the head of the Judo Federation and also the chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Japan, and Tadahido Nomura, a three-time Olympic judo champion, and Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling Saori Yoshida.
It was initially decided that these famous athletes would personally bring fire from Greece, but the outbreak of the coronavirus changed plans for the transfer of fire. Because of the pandemic, the celebration took place in the Panathinaikos stadium with empty stands, which happened for the first time. According to the plan, the sacred fire was supposed to be met by schoolchildren of a given locality, but, due to a health hazard, this did not happen.
The aforementioned Yoshiro Mori in his speech emphasized that they will do everything possible to safely conduct the Olympic Games. He also apologized for the adjustments in the plan, because of which the ceremony is now taking place on an abbreviated program, and asked everyone to understand this situation and all the possible dangers. After the greeting, Yoshida and Nomura lit a sacred fire, which was in a bowl that looked like a sakura flower. In honor of the opening of the Olympic Games during this ceremony, a pre-prepared aerobatic team “Blue Impulse” flew over a military base called “Matsushima”, leaving stripes in all colors of the Olympic rings in the sky.
According to the plan, the relay race will now begin on March 26 in Fukushima Prefecture, which had previously suffered from natural disasters in 2011, namely in the training center. However, the authorities urged people not to line up the relay race to protect themselves and others from infection and transmission of the virus. Despite the threat, authorities are confident that COVID-19 will not interfere with the game.
We also recall that to date, more than 1.6 thousand cases of coronavirus have been noticed in Japan, the list of which includes the composition of the cruise ships Diamond Princess, including crew members and passengers. In Hokkaido, the most cases were noticed, according to their data 157. But it is known that in recent days the number of infections has sharply decreased, and new cases have not been noticed at all. Currently, throughout Japan, the death toll from this pandemic is 40.