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Japan's Olympic committee confirms accidents during torch relay

Japan’s torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics led to a few accidents in Fukushima prefecture in March, according to local press report Thursday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Japan’s torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics led to a few accidents in Fukushima prefecture in March, according to local press report Thursday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 8 (UPI) -- The Tokyo Olympic torch relay that began in Fukushima has had its share of troubles, including vehicle-related accidents, though none led to injuries, according to local press reports.

Japanese authorities confirmed the accidents Thursday.

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NHK reported a car damaged a pole or standing structure in a parking lot March 25, when the torch relay began in Fukushima Prefecture.

That same day a vehicle carrying equipment for the torch relay hit and damaged a store in a strip mall in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, the report said.

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On March 27, a car used to carry an Olympic torch crashed into another car, while backing out of a parking lot of a convenience store in Sukagawa, in the same prefecture. A total of four accidents occurred last month, according to NHK.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee confirmed the accidents Thursday, nearly two weeks after torchbearers began their run in eastern Japan.

Tokyo has said the Summer Games are to go ahead as planned, but a recent surge of COVID-19 has impacted the torch relay.

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Torchbearers have been banned from running through public streets, and the relay in Osaka is to take place privately at the Expo '70 Commemorative Park in the city of Suita next week, CNN reported Wednesday.

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Variants of the novel coronavirus are causing problems and driving the latest surge. Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said infections are spreading "very fast," the report said.

Japan is working around the clock to make the Olympics happen after it was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Kyodo News reported Thursday the government is "looking into" the possibility of prioritizing the vaccination of Japanese Olympic and Paralympic athletes, while also vaccinating senior citizens and frontline health workers.

The Olympic opening ceremony is scheduled for July 23.

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