Fukushima Olympic Flame display cancelled over virus concerns

FILE PHOTO: Makoto Noji, head of bureau of culture and sports for Fukushima government, holds the Olympic Flame in lantern with Tokyo 2020 COO Yukihiko Nunomura during an official "handover ceremony" at the J-Village National Training Center, in Naraha Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan April 1, 2020, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - The exhibition of the Olympic Flame, due to remain on display in Fukushima until the end of the month, will be cancelled over coronavirus concerns, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced on Tuesday.

In what was intended as a symbol of resilience, the flame went on display a week ago at the J-Village, Japan’s national soccer training centre, used as a rescue headquarters during the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011. [L4N2BP2FQ]

But following the Japanese government’s decision to declare a state of a emergency on Tuesday, Olympic organisers have cancelled the exhibition.

The opening stages of the Tokyo 2020 torch relay were supposed to be underway by now, but the International Olympic Committee and Japanese government, under pressure from athletes and sporting bodies, pushed the Games to next year.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the state of emergency on Tuesday, giving authorities more power to press people to stay at home and businesses to close. [M1L4N2BV0V8]

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Graff