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Library - 2020 Olympic Torch Design Features Extrusions

Extrusions made from recycled aluminum used to make the Tokyo Olympic Torch

April 2019

Recycled aluminum from temporary housing used after the Fukushima, Japan disaster in 2011 was used to manufacture the torches for the 2020 Olympic Games, set for July-August 2020. The torch was designed with a cherry blossom motif, a flower close to the hearts of the Japanese, and the torch relay will begin in March 2020 to coincide with Japan’s cherry blossom season.

The cherry blossom motif of the Olympic torch has been created in a traditional form using the aluminum extrusion manufacturing technology used in the production of Japan’s bullet trains. Approximately 30% of the torch is made from recycled aluminum recovered from temporary housing units constructed after the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

“The manufacture of the torch embodies a passion for recovery and consideration for sustainability. Aluminum construction waste from temporary housing built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake was used to create it, transforming materials that witnessed the rebuilding of shattered lives into a symbol of peace. This will convey to the world the extent to which the affected areas are recovering, one step at a time,” according to the website Tokyo2020.org.

The weight and grip of the Olympic Torch have been specially produced to ensure that it is easy for absolutely anyone to hold – regardless of age or gender. The length of the torch is 710mm (about 28 in.) and weighs 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs.). The five separate flames from the “flower petals” come together as one at the center of the torch to give off a more brilliant light, the “Path of Hope”.

The Olympic Flame, which will be lit in Greece, will be on public display prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, which bore the brunt of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The planned display is based on the concept that the Olympic Games should aid reconstruction in disaster-hit areas of Japan. It will align with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept "Hope Lights Our Way" in what will be the 10th year since the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will be held over 121 days – an unusually long period – and will commence on 26 March at the National Training Center J-Village in Fukushima. It will pass through all 47 prefectures in Japan, giving these a chance to showcase their diverse cultural and scenic attractions.

Photos: Tokyo2020.org