Paralympic torch lighting to highlight coexistence

A city near Tokyo is planning to send a strong message against discrimination when it lights the flame for the Tokyo Paralympics torch relay.

NHK has learned that Sagamihara City has decided to light the torch at the site of a care home for people with intellectual disabilities that was the scene of mass carnage five years ago.

A former worker at the Tsukui Yamayuri-en facility went on a rampage in July 2016, killing 19 residents in one of Japan's worst mass murders.

Sources say Sagamihara City has informed the Tokyo Paralympics organizers that it plans to light the flame at the site.

They say the city hopes to send a message to the world that it aims to eradicate all forms of discrimination, in line with the ideals of the Paralympics to seek a society where everyone can coexist.

The care home building has been demolished and a new facility is under construction. City officials plan to consult the families of the victims and others on the details of how to light the flame.

Tsukui Yamayuri-en officials say the new facility will open in the summer when the Paralympics will be staged, and that they hope the lighting event will prompt people to think of coexistence.

Paralympic flames are to be lit in municipalities across the country from August 12. They will be combined in Tokyo to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony on August 24.