Olympic Torch Relay in Osaka Kicks Off in Expo Park
Suita, Osaka Pref., April 13 (Jiji Press)--The Osaka Prefecture leg of the torch relay for this summer's Tokyo Olympics began at the Expo '70 Commemorative Park in the city of Suita in the western Japan prefecture on Tuesday.
The relay in the park comes after Osaka fully canceled the event on public roads in the prefecture, where the number of people found infected with the novel coronavirus is on the rise again.
The general public is restricted from entering the park, but each torchbearer is allowed to invite up to four family members or others to watch him or her run. The relay in Osaka is slated to run through Wednesday. The park was used for the 1970 World Exposition.
Each relay participant ran about 200 meters on the approximately 3-kilometer loop course set around the park's iconic Tower of the Sun monument, designed by the late famed Japanese artist Taro Okamoto.
The park, usually bustling with families, was quiet as the torch carriers ran around the park. Family members watching runners from the side of the relay course clapped or held up signs of encouragement instead of cheering them on, to reduce the risk of infection with the coronavirus. The participants responded by waving at the spectators.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]