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Tokyo Officials Move Olympic Torch to ‘Undisclosed Location’ to Prevent Tourist Gatherings

© AFP 2021 / Marcos de Paula Brazilian residents pass the Olympic torch at Independence Park upon the flame's arrival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 24, 2016
Brazilian residents pass the Olympic torch at Independence Park upon the flame's arrival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 24, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Japanese officials have announced that the Olympic torch, a symbol of the Olympic games that burns for the duration of the athletic tournament before being extinguished at the closing ceremony, has been moved to a “undisclosed location.”

The torch was previously being displayed in the northern Japanese prefecture of Fukushima and was supposed to remain there until April. However, the decision was made to move the flame to prevent tourists from gathering in front of the torch. The torch had arrived in Japan from Greece, where the games first took place, on March 26, two days after Tokyo officials agreed to postpone the Summer Olympics until 2021.

"Tokyo 2020 will now keep the flame in an undisclosed location to prevent people from gathering," the Olympic organizers said, the Washington Examiner reported.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on March 24 that the Tokyo Games, previously scheduled for 2020, would be postponed one year as a result of health concerns amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The games are now expected to start on July 23, 2021. 

According to Michael Payne, the former marketing director of the IOC, the flame will be kept ignited as a symbol of the fight against the coronavirus. "The idea will be to keep this flame burning and showing it to the world," he said, the Hill reported.

The Olympics is not the only sporting event to be closed down amid the global pandemic. The Championships, Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, was canceled last Wednesday in an effort to stop the spread of the respiratory illness.

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