August 12 2021
TOKYO – Flame-lighting events for the Tokyo Paralympic torch relay began across Japan on Thursday in the lead up to the world’s biggest sporting event for athletes with disabilities, despite the relay being scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A series of events related to the torch relay were held in an effort to boost momentum toward the Paralympics, which will take place between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5, and mark the transition from the just-concluded Olympics.
Flames for the Paralympics are set to be collected in over 800 municipalities across Japan and be united with the flame lit in Stoke Mandeville, Britain — the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic movement.
Lighting events will take place over the next five days in 43 of Japan’s 47 prefectures that will not stage Paralympic competitions. The locations and lighting methods have been left up to each municipality, and the flames will be brought to Tokyo later this month.
Between Tuesday and Aug. 20, the four prefectures that will host Paralympic events will hold flame-lighting events.
The flames lit in the host country and in Britain will be united at a ceremony in Tokyo on Aug. 20, before the torch relay in the capital is slated to begin ahead of the opening ceremony at the National Stadium.
The relay in Tokyo, originally set to feature some 700 torchbearers passing the flame over a course of around 35 kilometers, was taken off public roads due to the pandemic. Instead, runners will gather for a so-called torch kiss ceremony.