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Mori requests longer Olympic torch relay for flame to travel through disaster-hit areas

Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games head Yoshiro Mori has requested the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow more time for the Olympic torch relay so that the flame can pass through recently disaster-hit areas.

    By IOC rules, the Olympic torch relay must be completed within 100 days and the flame should be carried along a contiguous route. Mori addressed the World Forum on Sport and Culture on Oct. 20 in Tokyo, saying, "We want the torch going around the disaster-affected areas as much as possible and that cannot be done within 100 days." Mori asked IOC President Thomas Bach to approve routes that would take the flame to northeastern Japan -- hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami -- as well as Kumamoto Prefecture, where severe quakes struck in April 2016.

    Mori added, "Making disaster recovery a reality with the power of sports is the organizing committee's top priority theme."

    Bach, who spoke after Mori, suggested that he would consider Mori's request, saying that the Tokyo committee must come up with a good plan.

    Meanwhile, Bach emphasized the importance of holding Olympic and Paralympic events in the disaster areas, which he suggested when he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Oct. 19. The IOC president proposed baseball and softball as candidate sports to be held in such areas, and said he hoped Olympic and Paralympic events will contribute to community disaster recovery.

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