Japan Receives Olympic Flame in Athens


London, March 19 (Jiji Press)--The Greek Olympic committee handed over the Olympic flame to Japan in Athens on Thursday in a ceremony held without an audience amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Naoko Imoto, a Japanese female Olympian in swimming at the 1996 Atlanta Games, received the flame on behalf of the Tokyo organizing committee from Spyros Capralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

The flame will be transported to Japan aboard a special aircraft. It is scheduled to arrive at the Air Self-Defense Force's Matsushima base in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Friday.

After the flame is displayed in the three northeastern Japan prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Olympic torch relay will start at the J-Village soccer training center in Fukushima.

Thursday's ceremony was drastically scaled back due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It took place at the Panathenaic Stadium, the venue used for the first modern Olympics in 1896.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press