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Protesters call for Tokyo 2020 to be cancelled ahead Opening Ceremony

Japan has finally kicked off the Covid-delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a symbolic show of hope and tenacity in the face of adversity at its Opening Ceremony.

There were just 950 VIPs and world leaders inside the 68,000-seat main arena in Tokyo to watch the display of light and colour on Friday night amid rising case totals in the country which forced organisers to ban crowds.

A darkened Tokyo Olympic stadium is seen shortly before the start of the much-anticipated Olympic opening ceremony

Sombre and socially-distanced – gone were the tightly-packed dance routines that traditionally mark opening ceremonies as directors instead made the best use of projection technology to add colour and pageantry.

A large firework display did add a burst of sound to what was otherwise an eerily quiet event, after organisers opted against playing artificial crowd noises in the arena.

Sports fans gather outside Tokyo's main stadium to take pictures in front of the Olympic rings and soak in the atmosphere ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony

Plagued by the pandemic, scandals among officials, and strongly divided opinions among locals, Japan will hope the touching spectacle will help coalesce positive feeling around the £13billion sporting extravaganza.

Olympic super-fan Kyoko Ishikawa, who has attended every Summer Olympics in the past 30 years, celebrates outside Tokyo's main stadium as the Games finally comes to her country

Earlier in the day hundreds of sports fans had gathered outside the main Olympic arena in Tokyo on Friday certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, some dressed in traditional Japanese regalia while others posed for photos in front of the Olympics’ famous rings.

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Supporters were also treated to a fly-past by the Blue Impact military display team, whose jets streaked through the sky above the stadium trailing coloured smoke.

 

Fireworks explode over the main Olympic stadium in Tokyo as the Opening Ceremony gets underway, a year after the event was delayed due to the Covid pandemicThe Tokyo Olympics began with a bang as fireworks exploded over an otherwise eerily quiet arena after crowds were banned with less than 1,000 dignitaries, delegates, and VIPs in attendance

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