April 5 2021
Toyohashi, Aichi Pref. -Shiita Kokubo, a 20-year-old autistic living in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, will run as a Tokyo Olympic torchbearer with his father to show their appreciation for people who have supported them.
“By showing my son running as a torchbearer, we want to convey our gratitude,” said Tatsufumi, the 59-year-old father, who will run alongside Shiita in the neighboring Aichi city of Toyokawa, central Japan, on Tuesday.
In his blog, Shiita, who also has intellectual disabilities, posts original songs to cheer up people with similar disorders, aiming to put autism in a positive light.
As a torchbearer, Shiita is eager to show his smile to people watching the torch relay.
Since being selected as a torchbearer, Shiita has practiced running almost every day, even after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed by one year to this summer due to the novel coronavirus crisis.
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