Rehearsal for Olympic torch relay held in western Tokyo

With just over a month until the Olympic flame arrives, organizers of this summer’s Tokyo Games held a dress rehearsal Saturday for the Japan leg of the torch relay.

Four runners carried unlit Olympic torches for around 200 meters each in Hamura, western Tokyo, on Saturday morning as the organizers went over preparations for the start of the domestic portion of the relay on March 26.

With traffic restrictions in place, torchbearers wearing the official white uniforms ran on a road in front of spectators that included residents and government officials.

Security personnel and police stood along the route, while vehicles belonging to sponsors and the organizing committee also traveled the course.

Actress Satomi Ishihara, who was selected to take part in the relay, ran the third segment of the dress rehearsal.

“I was very nervous before running. But it went by so fast,” Ishihara, 33, said.

“I’m really glad I was able to rehearse ahead of the start of the torch relay because I ended up running too fast today.”

The 71-cm torch, which draws on the imagery of Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms, was also set to be carried around in the nearby cities of Kokubunji and Hachioji later in the day.

A celebration is due to be rehearsed when the torch arrives at its destination in Hachioji.

The Olympic flame will be lit in Greece on March 12 and will arrive in Japan following the Greek leg of the relay.

The domestic segment of the relay will commence in Fukushima Prefecture. About 10,000 torchbearers will wind their way through all 47 prefectures before it makes its entrance during the opening ceremony at Tokyo’s National Stadium on July 24.

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