Olympics

First round of applications for Tokyo 2020 torch relay opens

Kyodo

Applications for members of the public wishing to run in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay opened Monday via a promotion organized by Coca-Cola (Japan) Co.

Those who wish to be torchbearers in the relay, which will travel around Japan for 121 days, can submit their application through the company’s smartphone app. The application window closes on Aug. 31, with the final results expected around the middle of December.

About 10,000 torchbearers will run roughly 200 meters each in the Japan leg of the relay, which will pass through all 47 prefectures of the country and feature major landmarks including World Heritage sites and areas devastated by recent natural disasters such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In addition to individual applications, the company also started soliciting groups of up to 10 people to participate in the relay together. The “group runners” will be selected based on videos uploaded by applicants to Twitter, in which they are asked to film themselves carrying out one of 33 challenges listed by the company.

The three other torch relay sponsors — Toyota Motor Corp., Nippon Life Insurance Co. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. — will begin accepting applications on June 24, while special entities led by local governments in each prefecture will start doing so on July 1.

According to the games’ organizing committee, people of all genders and nationalities can apply to become torchbearers, as long as they were born before April 1, 2008, and have a connection with a prefecture in which they wish to run.