The opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be held at the National Stadium in central Tokyo today (Friday).

Iran PressAsia: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on Thursday described the Olympics as the "most restricted sporting event ever held".

Speaking to Japan's national broadcaster NHK, Bach said: "The world is looking for a moment of hope, and these Games are maybe at this point in time, the only really worldwide positive message. We want to send this message of solidarity, peace, and hope from Japan, from Tokyo to the entire world."

The opening ceremony is being held a day after Tokyo recorded 1,979 new COVID cases, the highest figure in six months. Tokyo recorded 2,044 cases on January 15.

Japan has reported about 853,000 cases and 15,100 deaths since the pandemic began, most of them this year, Associated Press reported.

The Yoshihide Suga government has been panned for its determination to hold the Olympics by sections of the population in Japan. Despite the criticism, Suga had told NBC News: "Over 4 billion people across the world will be watching these Olympic Games... In that context, to overcome the hardship of the coronavirus and to be able to hold the Games, I think there is real value in that.”

The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin at 8 pm local time.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was postponed for the first time in their history.

Tokyo 2020 became the first Olympics ever postponed in peacetime as the coronavirus wreaked havoc across the globe, claiming lives and forcing the cancelation of sporting and cultural events.

The Olympics have previously only been canceled completely during periods of World War (in 1916, 1940 and 1944), but never suspended or postponed.

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