Naha, Okinawa Pref. – The Tokyo Olympic torch relay suffered its first total cancellation on Friday when Okinawa Prefecture organizers announced the May 2 leg in Miyakojima will not be run at all, and no events will be held.
Local organizers in the island city, currently under strict measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, wanted the relay leg moved off public roads, and the Olympic organizing committee granted their request.
According to Okinawa Prefecture’s executive committee, there will be no alternative date set for the relay and no ceremonial events either, making it the first such case in the nationwide relay that will travel through all of the country’s 47 prefectures.
The latest surge in coronavirus cases has seen the western cities of Osaka and Matsuyama move their relay legs off public roads and onto alternate courses away from crowds.
Okinawa’s main island, which contains areas subject to strict coronavirus measures, will hold its relay legs at two ceremony venues away from public roads. Runners who had been scheduled to take part in Miyakojima will not run on the main island in order to reduce unnecessary travel out of consideration for the fragile medical systems on Miyakojima and Okinawa’s other outlying islands.
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