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Olympics Torch Relay in Tokyo to Proceed

FILE - Toshiro Muto, CEO of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, listens to questions from the media during a news conference in Tokyo, June 11, 2019.

Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics said Tuesday they would proceed with the torch relay on March 26 as planned, despite threats of the coronavirus.

To minimize the risks, organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said all events associated with the games, including the local governments’ welcoming ceremonies, will be canceled.

He told reporters in Tokyo that spectators will not attend the grand opening event in Fukushima and urged people who feel unwell to skip the actual torch relay.

“We’d like to ask people who are feeling unwell to refrain from being on the roadside,” Muto said.

Muto warned that overcrowding may force organizers to change the way the relay is carried out.

The torch lighting was held without onlookers in Greece, but the torch relay there was canceled. On Thursday, Japanese officials will attend a torch handover event that will not have spectators.

Japanese and international officials have said they would not delay or cancel this year’s Olympic Games, which are scheduled to begin on July 24, despite the fast-growing coronavirus pandemic.