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Special Olympics World Winter Games Torch Bearers Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi received a courtesy call from the torch bearers of the Special Olympics at the Prime Minister's Official Residence.
The Special Olympics aims for the independence of persons with intellectual disabilities and their participation in society through daily training and competition. It is held every four years in the summer and the winter, just like the Olympic Games. Starting February 26, 2005, the Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Nagano Prefecture. This will be the first Special Olympics in the Asian region. The Olympic fire brought to Japan from Athens, Greece for this occasion will be relayed in Tokyo and then brought to the venue where the opening ceremony will be taking place. On this day, the torch run started following the ceremony for the arrival of the Olympic fire to Japan at the Citizens' Square of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from the torch bearers in front of the Prime Minister's Official Residence.
Upon receiving the courtesy call, Prime Minister Koizumi said, "Welcome to the Prime Minister's Official Residence. I extend my cordial welcome to you all. I would like to express my heartfelt respect and gratitude to all of you who have worked hard to realize the Special Olympics in Nagano Prefecture which will start next week. I, together with you, wish that the games starting next week will end in a success, as athletes taking part will realize your support of and efforts for the Special Olympics."