Olympic organizers consider downsizing 2020 torch relay due to virus


The CEO of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee said Wednesday the Olympic torch relay could be downsized in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Bringing spectators together in large numbers increases the risk of infection. Downsizing is among the approaches we can consider,” Toshiro Muto told reporters.

Muto, however, rejected any suggestion that the relay might be canceled.

“We are not considering that at all,” said Muto, while indicating that policy measures to ensure the safety of the event would be published next week.

“We will consider how it can be implemented to prevent the risk of infection.”

Muto indicated that each day’s departure and arrival ceremony might be made smaller.

The relay will begin on March 26, from the J-Village soccer training center in Fukushima Prefecture and will pass through 859 municipalities over 121 days.

Muto revealed that the conditions of the outbreak are subject to change, and changes could be made to each torch relay segment with a week’s advance notice.

Sponsors, he confirmed, have been kept in the loop and understand the urgency of the situation and the need for potential downsizing.

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