Olympics / Summer Olympics

Mori eyes 2020 Games opening gala panel, torch relay through all prefectures


Yoshiro Mori, head of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, said Wednesday a panel to compile the concept of the games’ opening ceremony will be set up shortly.

In an interview in Tokyo with Kyodo News, Mori also said the route for the torch relay preceding the multisport event will be decided under the premise that it will go through all 47 prefectures of Japan.

The panel for the opening ceremony will include members well-versed in various fields, including history, sports, culture and music, the former prime minister said.

“We want to hold discussions starting with basic issues like what this Olympics will portray and what kinds of things it will try to convey to the world,” he said. “We hope to create something like an eminent persons group to gather wisdom.”

Mori, who is pushing for an Olympics aimed at helping to reconstruct Japan’s northeastern region hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, said the torch relay will “preferentially go around areas affected by the disasters.”

He added that it is also desirable for the route to focus extensively on the Tokyo metropolitan area as the host city of the 2020 Games.

Mori suggested that the initial consideration of the route involve calculating the total number of days it would take to go through every possible site based on these principles.

While the International Olympic Committee sets the maximum duration of a torch relay at 100 days, he said he believes the world body would consider allowing an extension of around 20 days.