Potential Opt Out of Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay

Also: Tokyo 2020 executive board to meet Thursday amid reports a replacement for president Yoshiro Mori has been found.

(ATR) The Olympic Torch Relay may not be welcome in one of Japan’s prefectures.

Shimane Governor Tatsuya Maruyama told reporters on Wednesday the prefecture may cancel local events tied to the Torch Relay "based on whether or not the response of the central government and the Tokyo government to the coronavirus improves," according to the Japan Times.

Maruyama also indicated he was opposed to holding the Olympics and Paralympics though he stopped short of calling for them to be cancelled.

The Torch Relay is scheduled to begin at the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima on March 25. Tokyo 2020 organizers confirmed in December that 859 municipalities from all 47 prefectures were part of the route, though COVID-19 countermeasures will mean scaled back celebrations.

It is supposed to pass through Shimane Prefecture on May 15-16.

Shimane, the second-smallest prefecture by population, is located north of Hiroshima Prefecture on Honshu.

In response to Maruyama’s comments, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters that Tokyo 2020 organizers are continuing discussions with prefectural executive committees to ensure measures are taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Hashimoto the Favorite for Tokyo 2020 President

The Tokyo 2020 executive board will meet on Thursday amid reports Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto is the choice to replace Yoshiro Mori as Tokyo 2020 president.

Kyodo, citing sources familiar with the matter, is reporting that the selection committee decided to ask Hashimoto to take the job after it met for a second day at a Tokyo hotel on Wednesday.

The 56-year-old Hashimoto, a seven-time Olympian, declined to comment. Japanese media had reported earlier this week that she was reluctant to take the job. She would have to quit as Olympic minister to become Tokyo 2020 president.

Mori resigned on Feb. 12 amid worldwide criticism over sexist comments he made during a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting on Feb. 3.

The selection committee, headed by Canon Corporation chairman Fujio Mitarai, is scheduled to meet for a third time on Thursday, according to Kyodo.

The short notice given for Thursday’s Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting points to the strong possibility Mori's successor has been found.

Written by Gerard Farek

For general comments or questions,click here.

Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.