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Tokyo Paralympic flame to be lit from flames commemorating victims of war, disasters

This file photo taken on Jan. 17, 2019, shows people distributing flames to commemorate victims of the 1995 Great East Japan Earthquake in Kobe. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

TOKYO -- The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic flame will be lit from flames burning to commemorate victims of earthquakes, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and those killed during World War II, organizers have announced.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on Feb. 6 announced the details of flame kindling ceremonies that will be held at more than 700 municipalities in all 47 prefectures in Japan from Aug. 13, ahead of the torch relay that will take place from Aug. 18 to 25.

Among the flames which will be taken for the event are one in the western Japan city of Kobe burning as a tribute to victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, one in the Iwate Prefecture city of Rikuzentakata, northeast Japan, which was severely damaged by the tsunami following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, one in the western Japan city of Hiroshima symbolizing prayers for peace after the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing, and one in the city of Itoman in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, where many residents were killed during the deadly Battle of Okinawa.

In the city of Beppu in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Oita, a kindling ceremony will be held at a facility employing people with disabilities, established by the late doctor Yutaka Nakamura, who is known as the "father of the Paralympics in Japan."

The Paralympic torch relay will be carried through 35 municipalities in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Shizuoka prefectures, which will host Paralympic events. In the country's remaining 43 prefectures, flame-kindling ceremonies will be held between Aug. 13 and 17.

A flame lighting ceremony will be held in Tokyo on Aug. 21 using a flame taken the day before from Stoke Mandeville, in Britain, which hosted one of the competitions of the 1984 Summer Paralympics, as well as flames gathered from Japan's 47 prefectures. These flames will create a single Paralympic Flame that will be used to ignite the cauldron in the new National Stadium at the night of Aug. 25.

(Japanese original by Tatsuya Haga, Sports News Department)

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