The first 'torch kiss' handover of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay during a rehearsal on the outskirts of the capital was performed by Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara. The actress's handover which took place in Hamura City was part of a dress rehearsal for the organisers as the event will begin from July 24.
The rehearsal comes amidst the worries regarding the coronavirus outbreak which could pose a threat for the games. Japan is among the list of countries affected by the novel virus and the country reported the first death on Friday. On the other hand, organisers said that cancellation or postponing the games was not considered at this moment.
Hundreds of people attended the Tokyo 2020 dress rehearsal
At the dress rehearsal, hundreds of people lined the streets of Hamura to watch the event, which was complete with sponsorship floats and a heavy security presence as Tokyo 2020 organisers looked to iron out any issues. "There are many purposes of the rehearsal," Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya told Reuters. "Today's rehearsal is focused on the entire operation. This will be the first and last time we do it."
"We want to check every aspect of it (the rehearsal) so we see this as an important opportunity." The torch relay begins in Fukushima on March 26 and will visit all 47 of Japan's prefectures ahead of the July 24 opening ceremony.
Members of the Japan team who won the 2011 women's soccer World Cup will start the Japan leg after the Olympic flame arrives from Greece before approximately 10,000 other torchbearers carry on the tour. The relay is due to pass many of Japan's most iconic landmarks over the 121-day journey, including Mount Fuji, Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park and Kumamoto Castle.