Japan’s Olympics minister hopes torch relay turns around public sentiment

March 25, 2021 - 9:31 AM
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto looks on as actor Satomi Hishihara and Paralympian Aki Taguchi light the celebration cauldron on the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture, Japan March 25, 2021. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool)

FUKUSHIMA — Japan’s Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa told reporters on Thursday she hoped the public’s sentiment towards the Tokyo Games would improve as the torch relay proceeded.

Japan officially began the Olympic torch relay in Fukushima on Thursday, kicking off a four-month countdown to the Summer Games in Tokyo, which were delayed from 2020 and are the first ever organized during a global pandemic.

The Japanese public has soured on the event due to concerns over the pandemic.

—Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Tom Hogue