Tokyo scraps Olympic torch relay legs in capital

The nationwide torch relay has been fraught with problems since it began in March

The Olympic torch relay has been scrapped on Tokyo’s public roads, officials announced Wednesday, as virus concerns continue to plague the Games just over two weeks before they begin.

Private flame-lighting ceremonies will replace public relay events across the capital beginning Friday, the Tokyo city government said.

Only the relay leg in the Ogasawara islands — a remote archipelago some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Tokyo — will go ahead as scheduled.

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The relay was forced off public roads in famous tourist cities such as Kyoto and Hiroshima over fears that crowds of fans could spread the virus.

Olympic organisers have warned competitions at the Games could be held behind closed doors, as they are forced to rethink how many spectators can attend.

But Japan’s government is this week expected to extend anti-virus measures in Tokyo and elsewhere, with a further decision on Olympic fans to follow.

On Tuesday, Games organisers urged members of the public not to line the route of the marathon over fears that crowds of fans could spread the virus.

The marathon will take place in the northern city of Sapporo, which is currently under the same anti-virus measures as Tokyo.

Participants have already begun arriving in Japan, with 11,000 Olympic athletes from around 200 countries set to take part.


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