The torch was lit Thursday morning in Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan during a ceremony closed to the public via COVID-19, but was broadcast online to viewers from around the world.
“The Tokyo 2020 torch will be a bright light of hope for Japanese citizens and citizens around the world, as well as a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Seiko Hashimoto, president of the local organizing committee and former Olympian.
For the next four months, the torch will be passed from athlete to athlete. It will travel south of Fukushima across the country, pass through Osaka and head to the island of Okinawa. Then the flame will go north to Hokkaido, and then go down to Tokyo.
About 10,000 runners will take part in the Olympic relay with stops in all 47 prefectures of Japan. The torch will arrive in Tokyo on July 9 and will travel through the Japanese capital before the opening ceremony on July 23.