Mar 25, 2021 - Sports

In photos: Olympic torch relay finally under way in Japan

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Start torchbearers from Japan's women's national soccer team, or Nadeshiko Japan, lead the torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture on March 25
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Start torchbearers from Japan's women's national soccer team, or Nadeshiko Japan, lead the torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture on March 25. Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympic torch relay began Thursday in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, one year after the world’s largest sporting event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the record: The relay underscores the Japanese government's resolve to forge ahead with the Olympics despite the pandemic. Confirmed deaths from the coronavirus in Japan remain under 9,000, but officials are still reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day — prompting health experts to warn that "a fourth wave is in sight," per the New York Times.

 Azusa Iwashimizu (L), member of Japan women's football national team, lights the torch from the celebration cauldron during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Start at the J Village on March 25
Azusa Iwashimizu (L), member of Japan women's soccer national team, lights the torch from the cauldron at the J Village March 25 in Naraha. Fukushima was chosen as the relay's starting place to mark the region's recovery from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon - Pool/Getty Images
Members of the Spa Resort Hawaiians Dancing Team "Hula Girls" perform during an opening ceremony on the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture on March 25
Members of the Spa Resort Hawaiians Dancing Team "Hula Girls" perform during an opening ceremony on the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture on March 25. Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
A torch kiss point on day one of the torch relay outside J-Village National Training Centre in Naraha, Fukushima
Japanese torchbearer Azusa Iwashimizu (C), a member of Japan women's national soccer team, passes the Olympic flame to high school student and Fukushima native Asato Owada (L) at a torch kiss point on day one of the torch relay outside J-Village National Training Centre in Naraha on March 25. Photo: Philip Fong/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Members of Shinehago Equestrian Association perform during an opening ceremony on the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima
Members of Shinehago Equestrian Association perform during an opening ceremony on the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture on March 25, 2021. Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
An athlete carries an Olympic torch during the first day of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games torch relay in the town of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture on March 25
Japanese torchbearer Mahiro Abe (C), a member of Japan's Self-Defense Forces, carries an Olympic torch during the first day of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games torch relay in Naraha on March 25. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

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