Tokyo:The welcoming ceremony for the Olympic flame began on Friday at the Komazawa Olympic Park Athletic Stadium in Tokyo, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
Governor Yuriko Koike opened the ceremony and accepted the report on the flame's arrival in the Japanese capital region.
"Last March, this flame was delivered from Greece to Japan. However, the Olympics were postponed and we carefully preserved it for a year. And then finally, on March 25, the torch relay was launched in the Fukushima prefecture. The flame has passed through Japan's 46 prefectures and now arrived in Tokyo. Despite all difficulties, thanks to our people's nationwide efforts, it has arrived here as the symbol of hope," Koike said, having to raise her voice to overcome the protesters' cries.
Before the ceremony, a protest against the Tokyo Olympics gathered outside of the stadium, denouncing the athletic extravaganza held amid the pandemic.
Now the flame will be passed across the capital prefecture, starting with the city of Machida. By July 23, the flame will be returned to central Tokyo for the opening ceremony.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, initially scheduled for 2020, were postponed for a year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The Games are now set to run from July 23-August 8 with harsh restrictions put in place to ensure safety.(UNI/SPUTNIK)