Committed to holding a 'safe and secure' Olympics, the organisers expressed uncertainty over the participation of international runners in the torch relay of the Tokyo Olympics kicking off on March 25.
Aimed at preventing a further spread of the coronavirus months before the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics, chief operating officer Yukihiko Nunomura stated that foreign tourists and visitors have been barred from entering the country due to travel restrictions.
Ensuring a 'safe and secure' Tokyo Olympics
After rising debate over the viability of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, already postponed for a year to July 23, Nunomura reiterated that the organisers were fully focussed on the challenge of staging the event during the pandemic despite persistent safety concerns.
Besides, overseas torchbearers are unlikely to participate in the event due to travel restrictions imposed on foreign nationals.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also hinted at the possibility of not allowing overseas spectators at the Tokyo Olympics. Christophe Dubi, the IOC Olympic Games executive director, said that late April can be the right time to decide whether to allow overseas spectators to attend the Games.
Torch relay for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics
The torch relay will begin on March 25 from the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima and travel through Tokyo from July 9 to 23.
Around this time last year, the Olympic flame for the Tokyo Olympics was lit during the flame lighting ceremony behind closed doors at the birthplace of ancient Olympics in southern Greece. But only five days after Greece handed over the Olympic flame to the host city, the grandest sporting spectacle was put on ice as the world scrambled to get to grips with the Covid-19 outbreak.
Earlier this month, the IOC and the organisers announced a rule-book underlining strict rules in place for the participants in a bid to hold the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the safest possible manner.