November 22nd 2019
TOKYO — The flames of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics will be ignited in over 700 municipalities across all 47 of Japan’s prefectures before they unite for the torch relay, games organizers said Friday.
The torch relay will be held in Shizuoka, Chiba, Saitama and Tokyo — hosts of Paralympic events — between Aug. 18 and Aug. 25, during the transition period between the Olympics and Paralympics, and feature some 1,000 runners.
“It will be a symbol of an inclusive society,” Tokyo Games organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori said of a relay to be held on a massive scale compared with previous Paralympics where only a small number of locations in the host country were involved.
The local flames will visit schools, hospitals and facilities while the flame-lighting festivals take place at 43 other prefectures between Aug. 13 and Aug. 17 to boost lead-up momentum for the Paralympics.
The Paralympic flame can be lit in more than one place, unlike the Olympic flame lit in Olympia, Greece. The manner of the kindling, to be revealed in spring, is down to each municipality. In fifteen prefectures, every city, town and village will take part.
All the flames will be merged into a single flame in Tokyo on Aug. 21 before the relay continues inside the capital leading up to the Aug. 25 opening ceremony.
The relay theme is “share your light,” and three runners meeting for the first time regardless of gender, age, nationality or disability form a team in each relay leg. In the Olympic torch relay, only one torchbearer carries the flame at a time.
“The Paralympics values diversity. Flames lit in various ways will come together and get the whole of Japan excited,” a senior organizing committee official said.
A heritage flame celebration will also take place in Britain’s Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic movement.
The four co-host prefectures and Lixil Corp., Japan’s leading household product maker and a presenting sponsor of the Paralympic torch relay, will select the torchbearers.