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Olympics: Disaster anniversary being considered for flame lighting

The mascots of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Miraitowa (center L) and Someity (center R), pose on a water bus against the background of the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo, on July 22, 2018. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The ninth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, is being considered as a date for the 2020 Olympic flame lighting ceremony, an informed source said Wednesday.

That plan merges with one of the fundamental themes of Tokyo 2020 as being a "reconstruction Olympics," and Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee, said he is in favor of the idea.

For the plan to come to fruition, it will require the cooperation of different organizations, including the International Olympic Committee and the Greek Olympic Committee.

The Olympic flame has been a fixture of the modern Olympics since the 1928 Amsterdam Games. It has been lit in Olympia, western Greece, since 1936, when Nazi Germany introduced the idea of a torch relay for the 1936 Berlin Games.

After the relay begins in Greece, the flame is transported to Japan, where it will be displayed in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the three most affected by the 2011 disaster.

The Japan leg of the relay will begin in earnest when the flame is carried from Fukushima on March 26 and travels the length and breadth of Japan for a period of 121 days.

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