Japan Softball Team Notches Victory in Tokyo Olympics Opener

Sports Tokyo 2020

Fukushima, July 21 (Jiji Press)--Japan's softball team cruised to victory against Australia in the first competition of the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, ahead of Friday's opening ceremony that will officially begin the Games.

Japan beat Australia in a mercy-rule win, with an 8 to 1 score in five innings, in front of an empty audience at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. Softball is competed by women in the Olympics.

The Tokyo Games are dubbed "the Reconstruction Olympics" to showcase the progress of recovery in Fukushima and other parts of the Tohoku northeastern region hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear disaster.

Women's soccer games are also scheduled to be held later the same day, with a match between Britain and Chile starting at 4:30 p.m. at a stadium in Sapporo in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido. Japan will face Canada in a spectatorless game from 7:30 p.m. also in Sapporo.

Softball came back to the Olympic program for the first time since it was dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press Tokyo 2020