• Kyodo


The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics said Thursday it received a total of 535,717 applications from people hoping to be torchbearers in the buildup to the games.

Organizers began accepting applications in June in collaboration with each of the 47 prefectures and four corporate sponsors.

Registration for participating in the event closed at the end of last month.

The 2020 torch relay will begin on March 26 and will feature around 10,000 torchbearers as it leads up to the opening ceremony for the Olympics on July 24.

The exact number of applicants is unknown since members of the public were allowed to submit up to five applications through one related prefecture and each of the four sponsors — Coca-Cola Japan, Toyota Motor Corp., Nippon Life Insurance Co. and NTT Communications Corp.

Successful applicants will be announced starting in December.

According to organizers, the most competitive prefecture is Hyogo, which received 224.8 times more applications than its assigned running slots.

Saitama Prefecture and two others also had 200 times more applicants than available slots.

The 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin in Fukushima Prefecture and pass through every prefecture over 121 days, including World Heritage sites and areas devastated by recent natural disasters such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“The Torch Relay will provide an unforgettable experience for the torchbearers, and for the members of the public lining the streets to cheer them on,” organizers said.

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