Japan marks three-year countdown to Tokyo 2020 Games

TOKYO (AP) Japan has begun its three-year countdown to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with relays, concerts and dancing events meant to help drum up public enthusiasm for the games.

The 2020 Games will be Japan's first summer Olympics since the 1964 edition in Tokyo. After a rocky start, organizers are gearing up to get the public more involved.

A 15-day, 1,000-kilometer (about 620 mile) citizens relay began Monday in northeastern Japan's Aomori prefecture. Runners and cyclists will travel through areas ravaged by the 2011 tsunami, reaching the capital on Aug. 7.

Other events were to include traditional dancing and surfing at the Olympics surfing venue. In Tokyo, a concert and other festivities were planned for after dark.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are to be held July 24-Sept. 6, 2020.

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