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Muted reception as 2020 Olympics torch relay reaches Tokyo

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The 2020 Olympics torch relay reached Tokyo on Friday to a muted reception.

A day after Japan resolved to ban spectators, including domestic ones from attending the Olympic Games, the torch began its final 15-day phase.

Under a gloomy grey sky, organisers held a small ceremony at the almost-empty Komazawa Olympic Park with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in attendance.

This is usually an anticipation-building moment ahead of the Olympics.

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But the torch relay is limited due to coronavirus measures, and organisers failed to generate enthusiasm among the Japanese public, many of whom are against the games going ahead.

Since the relay began at the end of March, the torch has made its way through Japan’s 47 prefectures but was banned from public roads in many areas.

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It faces the same treatment in Tokyo due to surging coronavirus infections.

Except for a few areas, the torch relay is banned from the public streets of the Japanese capital.

The government decided a day earlier to impose a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo for the fourth time.

It will come into force on Monday and last until August 22.

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The games are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8.

The original plans would have seen 100 runners carry the Olympic torch through the Setagaya district and three districts in the western suburbs on Friday.

Instead, runners will take part in a ceremony without spectators in Machida, a city in the western part of the greater metropolitan Tokyo area.

 

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