(ATR) The 2020 Olympic flame will be lit on March 12 in Greece, and will then travel to the three prefectures hit hardest by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, before setting off across the country.
Elementary school kids in Fukushima celebrating 500 days to go (Getty Images)
Tokyo 2020 organizers shared the start date for the 2020 Olympic Torch Relay and six days of viewing locations, as part of 500 days to go celebrations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The flame will arrive from Greece to Japan on March 20, 2020, at Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi prefecture. Then it will visit locations in Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures. Tokyo 2020 says the theme for the torch relay is “Hope Lights Our Way”.
In Fukushima the torch relay will commence on March 26 at the rebuilt J-Village soccer complex. J-Village, a national training base, was destroyed during the 2011 disaster, and partially reopened last year. Tokyo 2020 held an executive board meeting last July at J-Village as part of the reopening, and the complex will be fully operational this year.
Japanese media were first to report that J-Village will be the site of the Torch Relay opening last week.
The torch relay will take place over 121 days throughout all 47 prefectures of Japan. During the relay, the torch will spend slightly longer periods of time in Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures to highlight reconstruction efforts.
"I hope the reconstruction will continue to progress steadily, and that when the Olympic flame is lit in Greece exactly one year from today, on March 12, 2020, it will be a source of hope for many people, marking as it will the first step into the tenth year since the earthquake,” Yoshiro Mori, Tokyo 2020 President, said to journalists during the 500 days to go celebrations.
Tokyo 2020 has sought to use venues in the Tohoku region as part of its Games plan under the mantra of being the “recovery Olympics”. Fukushima will host opening matches in the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments, while Rifu, a city in Miyagi Prefecture will also host soccer matches as part of the 2020 football tournament.
Tokyo 2020 sport pictograms (Tokyo 2020)
Kicking off the 500 days to go celebration was a caravan bus that will travel from Tokyo to Tohoku to meet with children.
As the caravan took off Tokyo 2020 revealed 50 sport pictograms for all Olympic disciplines. The pictograms will be used on tickets, merchandise, and broadcasting of the Olympics. For the first time pictograms from 3x3 basketball, karate, skateboarding, and surfing were designed.
The pictograms were designed under the theme “Innovation from Harmony,” from Japanese designer Masaaki Hiromura.
“I have tried to express the dynamic beauty of the athletes through these pictograms, while respecting the legacy bequeathed by the pioneers of the Japanese design industry in their designs for the Tokyo 1964 Games,” Hiromura said in a statement. “The 2020 designs took us almost two years to complete and they embody the thoughtful input of the many people involved.”
The pictograms will mainly be the shade of blue used in the Tokyo 2020 logo, but will also be used with five traditional Japanese colors. Tokyo 2020 Gold Partner Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. will install decorations around the city using the pictograms, which organizers say will also be used in the decorations for the Olympic Village starting in December 2019.
Homepage photo: ATR Japan
Written by Aaron Bauer
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