Sadness in scarred Fukushima after Olympics torch relay cancelled due to coronavirus

Read Time2 Minute, 36 Second


It was intended to be the start of a triumphant march to the Tokyo 2020 Games: the torch relay would begin Thursday in Fukushima, hit by the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, as a poignant symbol of the Recovery Olympics.

But instead, it was like any other day for this prefecture in northeast Japan after the relay was scrapped after the postponement of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents were unable to hide their disappointment even though they agreed with the decision.

"It's a bit unfortunate. I was waiting for the torch relay," said Mai Sakata, a 31-year-old housewife, who had planned to see the torch pass near her home.

"But with the coronavirus, I think the postponement was the right move for people to feel safe," she said outside the Fukushima station while holding her one-year-old daughter.

High school student Yu Kurashige, 16, said the decision to delay the Games until the summer of 2021 at the latest was inevitable given the global health emergency.

"I think torch relay is something really important to Japan, but this time the cancellation was inevitable," he said. "The most important thing is everyone's safety."

RECOVERY FLAME
Others, however, took it more difficult. "I'm 20 years old this year and I thought it would be a memory to mark that, but it's gone, so I'm sad," said college student Nao Nitta.

Having won the Games in 2013, Japan said it would symbolize rebirth after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and caused a collapse at a nuclear power plant.

On Thursday, in the city of Fukushima, about 80 km (50 miles) from the Daichi nuclear plant on the Pacific coast, many people normally worked and shopped on a sunny day amid the cherry blossoms. The prefecture has only had two coronavirus infections so far, and significantly fewer people wore masks than in the capital Tokyo.

Near the plant, signs of reconstruction efforts are everywhere: new roads have been built, apartment blocks have emerged for evacuated families, and a towering wall of tsunamis now runs along the shoreline. An army of workers travels daily to the destroyed plant to dismantle the reactors.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also linked the Olympics to the fight against the coronavirus, saying that the rescheduled Games would serve as testimony to humanity's victory over the pandemic.

The torch toured a special Recovery Flame tour limited to six locations in the northeast disaster areas, drawing crowds despite concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, before the relay was canceled nationwide.

Some of Fukushima have already turned the page and hope that the relay route will remain the same next year.

"It's better in a situation where everyone can have fun," said Kumiko Saito, a travel business worker.

Receive real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the new India Today app. Download from

  • IOS application
0 0

About Post Author

Raj Gaur

I love working with WordPress and doing it the right way. Themes and plugins I develop have a common #1 goal: Keeping it as simple as possible for users to publish their content.
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleppy
Sleppy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Leave a Reply

Close
//ofgogoatan.com/afu.php?zoneid=3093675
%d bloggers like this: