Tokyo Olympic torch relay pulled off streets in Hiroshima

Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, however, said that a ceremony next week without the relay was likely to still take place.

Organizers warned before the relay began that changes and delays were expected in the face of the pandemic-AP   -  AP

The Tokyo Olympic torch relay was pulled off the streets in Hiroshima prefecture as COVID-19 cases continued to rise in Japan barely 10 weeks before the opening ceremony.

Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki said that a ceremony next week without the relay was likely to still take place. This was at least the sixth change to the relay — from rerouting to cancellation — in the last several weeks.

Organisers warned before the relay began that changes and delays were expected in the face of the pandemic.

“It is certain there will be no relay on public streets since we are all trying to reduce going out, and how to do the ceremony without the relay on the streets is still being discussed with the organizers,” Yuzaki said Monday.

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The relay began on March 25 in northeastern Japan and was to end on July 23 at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Tokyo and other areas are under a state of emergency until May 31.

Yuzaki said the cases were rising at such a rapid pace that it could become an emergency situation unless people curbed their activities.

On Monday, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that Hyogo and Okayama prefectures will also take the torch relay off public streets.

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