The Tokyo Olympics officially got underway on Wednesday as hosts Japan defeated Australia 8-1 in softball in Fukushima.

The commencement of softball, which returns to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, precedes Friday's Opening Ceremony for the controversial Tokyo Olympics.

Softball, along with women's football, both begin on Wednesday, with men's football to commence on Thursday.

Australia registered the first run of the Olympics when Michelle Cox touched down on home plate in the first inning but Japan raced away with the win.

Naito Minori hit a two-run home run at the bottom of the third inning to open up a 3-1 lead for Japan. The hosts added three runs in the fourth, aided by a two-run home run to left field from Yamato Fujita, before Yu Yamamoto homered in the fifth.

In the opening day of softball, Italy are also due to play the United States, followed by Mexico and Canada in Fukushima.

The 2020 Games, delayed by a year due to the global health pandemic, will be held mostly without spectators due to a state of emergency being declared in Tokyo.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the Japanese capital topped 1,000 for five days running before dropping to 727 on Monday.