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On June 15, the torch relay for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics arrived at the Olympic marathon in Sapporo, but only one runner held the torch before lighting the cauldron of celebration.
Student Yukawa stepped onto the stage set up at Sapporo Kita-Sanjo Plaza "Akapla" in the shadow of Sapporo City Hall, with the Hokkaido prefectural flag fluttering in the background.A futsal player for the Hokkaido club, Yukawa is also one of the leaders of the local boys' fire club and was able to put his training to work during the 2018 earthquake.
His torch was lit by flame attendants from a safety lantern on stage. Then, after a very brief, low-key ceremony, he lit the brazier, reciting the names of others who were supposed to pass the torch.A similar ceremony was held yesterday at Upopoi Park, near the National Museum, with torchbearers lighting the torches.
The torch was to visit about nine cities a day on its two-day tour around the county, but earlier this month organizers confirmed that a local "working group" had asked the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee to change the format of the torch relay .Hokkaido is one of 10 prefectures in Japan currently under a state of emergency. Kyodo news agency reported that medical facilities in the prefecture are still strained by COVID-19 patients.
The city of Sapporo will hold its first Olympic race on Aug. 5, and the city's race will end with a men's marathon on Aug. 8. It now takes a day for the torch to continue its relay in Iwate Prefecture, the 39th of 47 prefectures on the itinerary.The flame will reach its final destination, the National Stadium, on July 23, the day the Olympics are scheduled to open.