The Olympic torch made a winding journey to the ceremony.

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Made a solo trip to the Olympic torch opening ceremony.

After arriving in Japan from Greece in March 2020, he was mothballed for a year as the pandemic delayed the Games.

Things got even worse from there. Even before the relay started, more than 30 runners, including celebrities, expressed concern that they would run not only with the flames but also with the coronavirus.

Despite these concerns, the torch began its journey in March with a small, social-distancing ceremony in Fukushima, the site of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a nuclear meltdown. The location selection was designed to show how Japan recovered from the disaster, but the humble event was not enough to celebrate.

At that time, Japan’s vaccination program had not yet begun. Still, coronavirus case numbers were low and there was early, albeit cautious optimism among attendees as members of the World Cup-winning Japanese women’s soccer team carried the torch on the first leg of its 121-day journey. The rest of the journey can go smoothly.

This would not happen. Within weeks, the country entered a state of emergency. Spectators were asked to stay at home, and the torch’s planned route was interrupted as settlements in 20 provinces were barred from public roads.

When the flame finally reached Tokyo in early July, authorities rushed from place to place with minimal show and no real running, marking its journey through the city with a series of modest ceremonies.

He made his penultimate stop early Friday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike presided over a small celebration of his trip.

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