Olympic flame on display in Japan Olympic Museum

The Olympic flame was unveiled on Monday and will be on display beginning at the new Japan Olympic Museum for at least the next two months.

Olympic Flame

The Olympic flame arrived in Japan from Greece in March and was largely hidden away in Tokyo since the Olympics were postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   -  AP

The Olympic flame is going on display in Tokyo, just a short walk from the new National Stadium where it was supposed to be burning a month ago.

The flame arrived in Japan from Greece in March and has been largely hidden away in Tokyo since the Olympics were postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The flame was unveiled on Monday at a small ceremony with Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee, and Yasuhiro Yamashita, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee.

"In this situation during COVID-19, I think athletes aiming for the Olympic and Paralympic Games are training hard each day - with great anxiety,” said Yamashita, a former Olympic judo gold medalist, speaking in Japanese. “I am convinced that the torch displayed today will support the hearts of those athletes.”

The flame will be on display beginning Tuesday at the new Japan Olympic Museum for at least the next two months. Visitors can only enter the museum, which is located across the street from the new stadium, with a reservation.

Olympic Flame

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organising committee, and Yasuhiro Yamashita, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, pose alongside other guests during the display ceremony for the the Olympic Flame at Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo, Japan.   -  Reuters

 

The flame’s unveiling comes just days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his plans to resign.

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Abe was on hand in 2013 in Buenos Aires when the IOC picked Tokyo, and he was the highlight of the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro when he appeared as Nintendo game character Super Mario.

- Fate of the Games remains uncertain -

The fate of the Tokyo Olympics remains uncertain. The organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) say it will open on July 23, 2021, but have not revealed any details about how 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be safe in Tokyo.

Thousands of other staff, technical officials and media would also need to enter Japan. The IOC says it wants fans at events but has not explained how this will happen, or if non-Japanese fans will be allowed.

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A poll this month of almost 13,000 Japanese companies showed 53.6 per cent want the games canceled or postponed again. The IOC has said if the Olympics can’t happen in 2021, they will be canceled. They cannot be postponed again.

A poll in July found that two-thirds of the public also favors another postponement or cancellation.

The organisers of the Tokyo Olympics say they are officially spending $12.6 billion to hold the Games, although a national audit board says it’s twice that much. In addition, local estimates say the bill for the delay could add on several billion more. The organisers and the IOC have yet to give a detailed breakdown of the new costs.