3 Fukushima municipalities conduct 'torch relay' ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

15 October 2018

A "torch relay" was conducted in Iwaki city and the towns of Naraha and Hirono in Fukushima Prefecture on Oct. 14 in an attempt to invite part of the real relay for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as well as forging an atmosphere conducive to the drive. Dubbed "Let's keep our dream alive! Reconstruction relay 2018 -- toward tomorrow of hope," the event was joined by about 110 people, including grade and junior high school students from the three municipalities. They relayed a torch in teams on a route of about 20 kilometers along the Pacific coast.

An opening ceremony was held at the J-Village national soccer training center straddling Naraha and Hirono. A group of 12 Naraha Junior High School third-year students kicked off the relay together with a guest runner, former Yomiuri Giants professional baseball player Takahiro Suzuki hailing from Soma city in the prefecture. The torch was reproduced from a model used at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, made in the same size and using the same raw materials.

The runners passed through JR Hirono Station, Iwaki Shinmaiko Heights hot spring hotel and other locations to reach the goal, "Iwaki PIT by Team Smile" multipurpose hall, in the Taira district of Iwaki in about three hours. "I do want to take part in the real torch relay," said Taira Junior High School third grader Ryuta Suzuki, 15, referring to the 2020 relay scheduled to start in the prefecture.

(Translated by Kyodo News)