The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay on March 25 will be held without spectators to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials with knowledge of the planning said Tuesday.

The Tokyo Organising Committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in Fukushima Prefecture behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

After the ceremony at the J-Village soccer training center, about 10,000 runners will carry the flame through the nation's 47 prefectures before the opening of the Olympics on July 23.