City reverses stance on 'men only' torch relay leg

A city in central Japan has dropped a plan to only allow men to participate in a segment of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay next Tuesday.

Officials in Handa City, Aichi Prefecture, initially said that all the participants on a festival boat would have to be men, including the torchbearer, security officers and the media. The boat has traditionally been off-limits for women.

But the city reversed its decision following mounting online criticism that this would go against the Olympic spirit that calls for gender equality.

The officials explained that they made the change after consulting with locals and the event organizing committee.