Tokyo moves Olympic flame from display as part of coronavirus fight

Tokyo moves Olympic flame from display as part of coronavirus fight
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The Olympic flame in Tokyo has been removed from display, with no reported time when it will return.

"Tokyo 2020 will now keep the flame in an undisclosed location to prevent people from gathering," Tokyo organizers said in a statement, the report added.

The removal and relocation of the flame come after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a state of emergency Tuesday to curve the spread of the coronavirus, with goals to stamp out large gatherings and crowds.

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This year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo were postponed in March for the entire year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers hope to now hold the Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, when it may be safer to gather athletes, trainers and fans from around the world to one location.

The Olympic flame by tradition is lit in Athens and then is delivered to the country hosting the games. The flame arrived in Japan on March 26, two days after Tokyo organizers agreed to postpone the games until 2021, according to the AP.

Organizers placed the flame on display in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, where it was to remain on display through April before it was moved.

Tokyo is expected to keep the flame for a short time, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is slated to use it as a promotional symbol of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"The idea will be to keep this flame burning and showing it to the world," Michael Payne, the former marketing director of the IOC, said.

Next year, the flame with reappear once again in Japan for the torch relay.