Tokyo organizers are downsizing the arrival ceremony for the Olympic torch because of the spreading coronavirus, the Associated Press reports.
Organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said Friday that 140 children will not be sent to Greece to give the flame a send off on March 19, a day before it is due to arrive in Japan.
“It’s a gut-wrenching decision not to be able to let them perform,” Mori said, speaking in Japanese.
The Olympic torch will be lighted on March 12 in a ceremony in Greece and then flown to Japan. It is to land in Miyagi at a Japan Air Self-Defense base in the northern part of the country.
Mori said the the changes forced by the spreading virus “make me feel even more strongly about not losing the fight.”
“Of course we are worried,” he added. “But the government is doing its utmost to battle the situation, and scientists are fighting against the challenges. I believe in the power of human beings and the efforts from around the world. But that doesn’t mean will just wait and hope.”