The Tokyo Olympic flame was taken off public display in Japan on Wednesday after it had arrived from Greece on March 26 in great anticipation for the Olympic Games, which were expected to take place this summer.
The Tokyo Olympics, originally planned for this year, have been rescheduled to take place July 23 through August 8, 2021 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Tokyo 2020 will now keep the flame in an undisclosed location to prevent people from gathering,” Tokyo organizers said in a statement to the Associated Press.
Speaking to Greek Reporter, a spokesperson for the Greek Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that this was an unprecedented situation but it was an arrangement agreed upon by the International Olympic Committee.
The flame had put on display in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, which had been devastated by an earthquake, tsunami and the resultant meltdown of a nuclear reactor. It was to have remained on display through the end of April.
It was removed after several days when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday issued a state of emergency in order to combat the coronavirus, which includes limiting large crowds.
The AP reports that it is not clear when the Olympic flame will reappear again — or where — or under what conditions.