Tokyo Olympic torch relay being pulled from the streets in Hiroshima Prefecture
Hiroshima Governor Hideiko Yuzaki said that a ceremony is still likely to take place next week without Riley. This is at least the sixth change – from relay to reunion to cancellation in the last several weeks.
Organizers warned before the relay began that changes and delays were expected in the face of the epidemic.
“It is certain that there will be no relay on public roads as we are all trying to reduce the outages, and how to do the ceremony without relay on the streets is still being discussed with the organizers,” Yuzaki Said on Monday.
Japan has attributed COVID-19 to about 11,000 deaths, but new cases of the virus and versions of it are now growing in the second largest metropolitan area of Tokyo and Osaka.
Riley is heavily sponsored by Toyota and Coca-Cola and has moved forward despite some calls a year ago to cancel it to save money. It includes 10,000 runners from Japan, who are trying to crowd the streets with the organizers and urge them to maintain social distance.
International Olympic president Thomas Bach was forced to travel to Hiroshima this week to greet the torch, an embarrassing move with the IOC and local organizers saying the Olympics would be “safe and secure” for fans and athletes.
Yuzaki said that the cases were increasing at such a rapid pace that it could have become an emergency unless people curb their activities.
On Monday, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that Hyogo and Okayama Prefecture will also carry the torch relay on public roads.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports