The Olympic torch relay kicks off next week at a spectator-free "Grand Start" in Japan, with organizers hoping to avoid a cancellation after last year's delay.
The big picture: The Tokyo Olympics start in four months, and there's considerable opposition to the Games in Japan, AP reports.
- The relay links all 47 Japanese prefectures and presents a real risk of spreading the virus.
- Much of the organizational staff comes from Tokyo, where the outbreak has been most severe in Japan.
Onlookers will be asked to social distance, wear masks and cheer quietly.
- "The objective of the Olympic torch relay is to enhance the enthusiasm," said Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee who has also been put in charge of the relay.
- "We need to balance things out between bringing enthusiasm and preventing COVID-19 infection."
The bottom line: Organizers warn they will stop or reroute the torch — or remove runners — if they need to.