Cancel Osaka’s Olympic Torch relay leg over virus: Governor

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Tokyo

The Olympic torch relay leg in the city of Osaka should be cancelled over rising coronavirus infections, the region’s governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said Thursday.

The call comes with parts of Osaka prefecture and two other regions of Japan facing new coronavirus measures to tackle a spike in cases.

“I personally think the torch relay in Osaka city should be cancelled,” Yoshimura told reporters.

“We’d like to start discussions with Osaka city and Tokyo 2020.” Tokyo 2020 Games organisers said late Thursday they would delay announcing torchbearers and details of the Osaka prefecture segment of the relay, which had been scheduled for publication today.

“We will continue to hold close discussions with the Osaka prefectural authorities regarding the implementation of the Olympic Torch Relay, and strive to announce the outcome as soon as possible,” they added.

Osaka city mayor Ichiro Matsui also backed the call for the relay to be cancelled there, according to local media.

“It’s very unfortunate, but the torch relay should be cancelled,” the Nikkei newspaper quoted him as saying.

The relay began on March 25 from Fukushima, with organisers hoping it will help build enthusiasm across Japan for the Games after a year-long delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.—AFP