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Olympic Flame’s public display in Japan suspended

Fukuahima Olympic Flame

People take pictures in front of the Olympic Flame which was passed from Tokyo 2020 to Fukushima Prefecture at the J-Village National Training Centre in Naraha on April 2, 2020. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The Olympic Flame will be taken off public display in Fukushima after a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo and surrounding areas due to the coronavirus on Tuesday.

The public display in Fukushima, where in 2011 more than 18,000 people died or went missing after an earthquake and tsunami, will be suspended on Wednesday, according to Tokyo 2020.

The Flame arrived in Japan on March 20 and has been on public display in Fukushima since March 24, the day the Tokyo Games were postponed until 2021 (and the torch relay suspended, too).

The Flame was originally to remain on public display in Fukushima through the end of April.

The Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay was to begin on March 26 in Fukushima, where the first competition of the Tokyo Games -- softball -- was scheduled two days before the Opening Ceremony. Tokyo organizers hope to keep a similar schedule for the Olympics in 2021.

The Olympic Flame is expected to remain in Japan until the torch relay restarts.

“The Olympic Flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in announcing the Olympic postponement.

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