What was meant to be a triumphant march leading up to Tokyo 2020 was instead a day of disappointment for the residents of Fukushima.
Japan's Olympic torch relay was set to begin there on Thursday (March 26) in what organizers called the start of the country's "Recovery Olympics."
But after the Games were officially postponed over the global pandemic, the relay was scrapped.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 36-YEAR-OLD SUPERMARKET CLERK, ADACHI,SAYING:
"I can only say it's unfortunate, there's nothing we cando. But with the world in this kind of situation it can't be helped."
Fukushima was battered by a triple disaster in 2011 -- an earthquake and a tsunami which then triggered a nuclearpower plant meltdown.
Locals hoped to showcase a renewed and rejuvenated Fukushima.
While they're disappointed the relay won't run through the area, those Reuters spoke to understood the gravity of the situation.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 16-YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, YUKURASHIGE, SAYING:
"I think the torch relay is something that's really important for Japan but this time cancellation was unavoidable. The most important thing is everyone's safety, so it was unavoidable."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now linked the Games to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus, giving the now-rescheduled "Recovery Olympics" somewhat of a new meaning -- hope that the world will soon recover from this global pandemic.