The Japanese media have finally begun portraying athletes with disabilities as elite in their own right, rather than focusing on what they are unable to do, according to an American academic researching the subject.

Dennis Frost, associate professor at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, said newspapers and television in Japan have massively increased coverage of para-sports since winning the bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

"I think stories about elite athletes are going to be what drives the narrative, especially in the national media coverage," Frost said of the upcoming games in a recent telephone interview.