Following the postponement of the Tokyo Games due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the games' organizing committee is tasked with keeping the Olympic flame burning for another year in Japan.
Under International Olympic Committee policy, the Olympic flame must continue burning until the games close, leaving local organizers responsible for securing it for more than a year.
Due to security reasons, a source familiar with the matter said the current location of the flame is "confidential" after public exhibition in Fukushima Prefecture was suspended due to fears of the pneumonia-causing virus.
The Tokyo Olympics will now take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
The Olympic flame was ignited using the sun's rays in ancient Olympia, Greece, on March 12. It arrived in Japan on March 20 for the domestic leg of the torch relay.
However, the decision to postpone the games until 2021 was made on March 24, two days before the kickoff of the 121-day relay in Fukushima Prefecture.
The flame was put on display earlier this month at the site of J-Village, the national soccer training center in Fukushima where the relay was supposed to start. But the public exhibition was canceled on Tuesday due to escalating concerns about the spread of the virus.
Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said Friday that the flame is "under the supervision of the organizing committee" but refrained from giving details of its whereabouts.
Earlier, organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori disclosed that internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi has proposed that the flame be used to revitalize rural areas in the country.
But one organizing committee source suggested that allowing people to gather to see the flame while the virus is not contained would be difficult, saying, "That would be a good attempt to build momentum, but first we must look at the situation of the virus."
About 10,000 torchbearers were scheduled to participate in the torch relay this year. The organizers have said the people who were set to carry the torch will be given priority when a new relay is arranged.