Tokyo (AFP)

The Olympic torch relay for Tokyo-2020, which had been put on hold due to the one-year postponement of the Olympics due to the new coronavirus, will begin on March 25 in the Fukushima region, organizers announced on Monday.

The Olympic flame, lit in Greece, arrived in Japan last March.

The relay should then have started but the organizers and the Olympic officials had taken, on March 24, the historic decision to postpone the Games for a year.

The flame is currently on display in Tokyo.

The relay will start again on March 25, 2021, in the region of Fukushima, hit by the nuclear disaster after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

The relay, which will see the flame travel to the 47 prefectures of Japan, is organized under the slogan "Hope Lights Our Way" and aims to highlight reconstruction in the regions devastated by the 2011 disaster.

"In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will also symbolize the light at the end of the dark tunnel; a beacon of hope for the world as the Tokyo 2020 Games approach, themselves a symbol of resilience , of the unity and solidarity of humanity, "the organizers said in a statement.

The route and schedule of the relay will remain the same "in principle", even if the press release specifies that the route and the sites of celebration "may be reviewed in the light of the situation of Covid-19" in the Japanese archipelago .

The postponement of the Games caused a major logistical problem for the organizers, as well as additional costs.

As a result, they were forced to identify a series of cost-cutting measures, which will include convoys of smaller vehicles for the torch relay and a simpler launch event.

The postponed Games are scheduled to open in Tokyo on July 23, 2021.

© 2020 AFP