The very first event of the Tokyo Olympics, a softball match between Japan and Australia, was staged Wednesday in the city of Fukushima to little fanfare.

While some locals found a ray of hope in the host country's win, the underlying theme of the Games — to showcase the region's recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake — has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan beat Australia 8-1 in the women's softball tournament held at Fukushima Azuma stadium in the city, two days before the formal opening of the Games.