It seems Japan, a nation known for keeping its rich traditions, is set to break one tradition globally observed for decades. Apparently the local organizing committee is thinking of moving the Olympic flame in a car, instead of the usual tradition of the flame being borne on a torch carried by an athlete.
The flame arrived in Japan on Friday, March 20th
Further, the flame will be housed in a lantern while the car carries the lantern. This could happen as early as next week as Japan kicks off its own leg of the global torch relay.
Due to Coronavirus worries, there were speculations that the Games should be postponed this year. Japan, like most of the world, has seen severe cutbacks in its economy as a result of COVID-19. Especially hit has been Japan's auto industry which has suffered similar shutdown as plants in Europe automotive industry and the USA. In response, the Japanese Government has set up a special task force on COVID-19 to mid-wife its auto industry through the pandemic.
Even countries not too well known for automotive manufacturing, such as Nigeria's automotive industry has been impacted by COVID-19.
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Japan's leg of the 2020 Olympic torch relay ceremonies will hold on a low key level and crowds will not be lined up on roads to cheer the athlete or in this case, the car carrying the lantern borne flame. However, a crowd will gather at a terminus to see the lantern brought in by the vehicle.
In a rethink of its former position, however, the International Olympic Committee has remarked a consideration of the possibility of an eventual postponement of this year's Games in Tokyo, Japan. Many who have advocated the same will no doubt laud this move due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, in order to abide by Japanese containment directives, the Japan torch relay ceremony will be broken down into sections containing small numbers of people This "Torch Visit" will allow the lantern and the flame to be seen by small numbers gathered at locations along the route, spread over days. This way, mammoth crowds are avoided, making it safe.
Although it is not certain just which car or vehicle will be shown the honor of carrying the Olympic flame and lantern, still, there is no shortage of either car brands or models in Japan. The country is home to some of the world's most popular car brands including Honda, Nissan, and of course, Nigerian favorite, Toyota.
Tokyo 2020 Games may still be postponed according to the IOL
This year, following the lighting ceremony on the 12th of March, 2020 in Olympia, Greece, the flame arrived in Japan on Friday the 20th March. Coronavirus precautions led to the suspension of the Greek leg of the ancient torch relay race.
In Japan, the Olympic flame was displayed in Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai in particular. Despite virus fears, crowds did turn up to welcome the flame and take a picture. Crowd control was carefully monitored to prevent contact and infection.
The Coronavirus scare has seen more cars play new roles such as the Robot cars in China for roads sanitation, and this latest Olympic flame bearing car is just the latest. Tokyo 2020 has already displayed innovative robots and vehicles for use at the Games. See the video below:
Toyota’s Olympic robots and vehicles for Tokyo 2020
As China's automotive industry begins the slow climb to recovery with zero new COVID-19 cases, let's hope the Coronavirus pandemic will be over in time for the 2020 Olympics Games.