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Paralympics torch relay plans unveiled, ANA joins as sponsor

Aki Taguchi (L) poses on stage to unveil the Torch Relay official uniform during the Count Down Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games One Year To Go at the NHK Hall on August 25, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Ceremonial Paralympic torch flame lighting festivals will take place in all Japanese prefectures in August, to be followed by the Paralympic torch relay itself, Tokyo 2020 organisers said yesterday.

Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) was also announced as a Supporting Partner of the Paralympic torch relay.

The ‘flame festivals’ will take place from August 13 and continue to August 25, the date of the Paralympics opening ceremony. Kyodo News reported that the different prefectures will come up with unique ways to light their flames, and the flames will visit schools, hospitals, landmarks and Paralympics facilities. The flames from all 47 prefectures, as well as a flame from the Paralympics’ birthplace in Stoke Mandeville in the UK, will be brought together and merged into a single flame on August 21 in Tokyo.

The flame festivals will take place in meaningful and historic locations, including the Peace Memorial Park in Okinawa, 1998 Paralympic Winter Games venue M-WAVE in Nagano, and Yokohama’s famous red-brick warehouse district.

The torch relay will start on August 18 in Shizuoka, and visit Chiba on August 19 and Saitama on August 20 before arriving in Tokyo for the flame merging ceremony on August 21. The relay will feature around 1,000 runners in total.

Under ANA’s deal, the company will promote the Paralympics through its in-flight entertainment options and its magazines. is also an Official Airline Partner of Tokyo 2020, and is sponsoring the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay as a Supporting Partner.

Welcoming the ANA partnership, Yoshiro Mori, president of Tokyo 2020, said: “The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay aims to create an opportunity for us to think about a new partnership between people and between people and society, which will help realise a more symbiotic society from 2020. We are very pleased that ANA can play a part in this, and we will cooperate with them to ensure the success of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay.”

Yuji Hirako, president and chief executive of ANA, said: “ANA has always served as an ambassador for Japanese hospitality and culture, and we are honoured that our airline is able to serve as a Supporting Partner, sharing the human spirit of unity and friendliness during this spectacular event.”

The Paralympic Torch Relay Partnership Programme has three tiers – Presenting Partners, Supporting Partners and Associating Partners. The official website for the relay currently lists one Presenting Partner – water technology company Lixil – and one other Supporting Partner – energy company Eneos.