Torch relay ends in Tokyo ahead of Olympic Games opening ceremony

Tokyo, Jul 23 (EFE).- The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay ended in the Japanese capital on Friday in a closed-door ceremony due to the Covid-19 epidemic, hours before it will be used to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

Kabuki theater actor Kankuro Nakamura was the last torchbearer and in charge of the symbolic lighting of a small cauldron, as done so in other ceremonies that have taken place throughout the torch’s journey across the country.

Nakamura was one of the 31 runners participating in the event held in front of the Tokyo government building.

The actor, who starred in a major TV drama in the country in 2020 in which he played the role of Japanese marathon runner Shiso Kanakuri, received the flame from Yohei Yagi, a blind marathon runner.

During the ceremony, each “runner” passed the torch to the next, an action known as a “torch kiss,” until finally the cauldron was lit. The event was scheduled to be open to public but a surge in coronavirus infections led to a ban on spectators.

A large number of police officials were deployed in the vicinity of the venue, where dozens of people waited for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force aerobatic squadron, nicknamed Blue Impulse, to fly over.

Military planes drew the five Olympic rings in the cloudy sky over the capital, hours before the opening ceremony.

The relay kicked off on Mar. 25 at the J-Village complex in the northeastern Fukushima province and has since traveled through 27 prefectures of the Japanese archipelago, although the route in many sections was withdrawn from public to avoid fans gathering.

The 15-day final leg of the relay throughout Tokyo was mostly held off public roads, except in some areas located far away from the capital city, where a state of emergency has been declared.

A total of 10,515 runners have participated in the torch’s 121-day journey.

This figure does not include the torchbearers who will participate in the opening ceremony in the coming hours, and it remains a mystery as to who will light the cauldron. EFE


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