Japanese softball team defeated Australia 56 hours before the opening ceremony.
Following the Summer Olympics tradition, first sporting events start before the ignition of the Olympic flame. The softball game between Japan and Australia ended in the hosts beating their opponents 8-1.
The match took place in the empty Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima. The place was chosen as a tribute to the region which suffered from an earthquake and a nuclear calamity in 2011. Thus the government wants to show that the region is safe and welcomes tourists.
Japan won gold medals in 2008 in Beijing, when softball was last in the Olympic program. Japanese pitcher Ueno Yukiko, gold medalist of 2008, delivered the opening pitch of her nation's Olympic Games.
Australia captain Stacey Porter said that playing in the opening game of the Olympics was "pretty special", but added that the absence of supporters in the stands requires time to get accustomed to.
"No crowd was different. We're used to looking up to the stands and seeing supporters up there, but we knew that they were watching from home."
Apart from three softball games, six women’s soccer matches will be held during the minus-two day of the Olympics.