FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) -- A rehearsal for the Tokyo Olympic torch relay was opened to the media on Monday at Inawashiro Ski Resort in Fukushima Prefecture as former Olympic freestyle mogul skier Sho Endo slid down the slope with local elementary school pupils.
The torch relay will start on March 25 in the northeastern prefecture, and the resort in the town of Inawashiro, known for its view of Lake Inawashiro and quality snow, will stage the relay on the second of three days scheduled for Fukushima.
Endo, 30, held a model torch in his hand as he led a group of 20 pupils on a 500-meter tour.
"I'm happy to be able to ski in my hometown I'm emotionally attached to," said Endo, who placed seventh in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and 15th four years later in Sochi.
"The fact the relay is starting is beginning to sink in."
The torch relay will start at the J-Village soccer training center, which was a frontline base to manage the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in the town of Naraha south of the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.