Olympic torch relay goes on; Tokyo seeks crowd ‘restraint’

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympic organizers are pushing forward with the Japanese leg of the torch relay regardless of the specter of the spreading coronavirus.

The Olympic flame, which is because of arrive on Friday from Greece, is scheduled to navigate the nation for 4 months from March 26 till the deliberate opening of the Olympics on July 24 on the nationwide stadium in Tokyo.

Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto stated Tuesday that crowds can be allowed to assemble on the roadside to look at the relay. The primary leg begins in northern Fukushima prefecture, which was devastated in 2011 by an earthquake, tsunami and the meltdown of three nuclear reactors.

Muto requested for restraint and warned the relay could possibly be stopped or delayed.

“We’d prefer to ask people who find themselves feeling unwell to chorus from being on the roadside,” Muto stated, talking by an interpreter. “We’d additionally prefer to ask individuals to keep away from crowds when cheering alongside the street. Within the occasion of overcrowding, we might have to alter the way in which we stock out the relay.”

Muto was pushed a number of occasions about what crowd conduct he was asking for.

“We don’t wish to discuss concerning the definition of refraining,” he stated. “However we don’t need individuals to really feel there’s an all-out blanket request for refraining. So mainly it is dependent upon you interpretation.”

He stated it was tough to outline what constitutes too many individuals. Talking in a room with about 100 reporters, Muto was requested if this was too many.

“That is packed,” he stated, “however not overpacked.”

The torch relay in Greece final week was referred to as off on the second day as a result of crowds have been too massive.

Muto was additionally pressed once more concerning the probability of the Olympics being canceled or postponed.

“In some ways and plenty of kinds individuals are asking us the identical query,” Muto stated. “Our stance is, as scheduled, the Olympics are going to happen in a secure and safe method.”

The torch relay is closely sponsored by Coca-Cola and Japanese automotive maker Toyota, which pay tens of millions of {dollars} as a number of the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s high sponsors. They’re certain to lose publicity through the relay, and Muto was requested if sponsors have been involved about financial harm.

“We’ve got not talked concerning the subject with sponsor companions,” Muto stated, “and our companions haven’t approached us concerning the subject, both.”

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