The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved a request from the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to extend the torch relay for the 2020 games beyond the traditional 100-day limit, sources involved with the Tokyo Games told the Mainichi Shimbun.
As a result of the decision, the flame can pass through all 47 prefectures, focusing on the areas hit hardest by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Whether the IOC would allow an extension of the torch relay period had been a key issue for the Tokyo committee, which sees the upcoming games as a chance to honor those living in disaster areas and show the world that Japan is recovering from the March 2011 disasters.
According to IOC rules, the Olympic torch relay must be completed within 100 days along a contiguous route. The torch relay for the Tokyo Games will adhere to the latter rule, so as not to split up a holy symbol of the games.
Meanwhile, working-level talks between the Tokyo Organising Committee and the IOC to confirm where Tokyo stands in its preparations for the games started on Oct. 3. John Coates, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, said at the outset that he wanted to cut $1 billion (approx. 113 billion yen) from summer tournaments, and $500 million (approx. 56.5 billion yen) from winter tournaments.