As cases of COVID-19 infections rose in Japan, organizers decided to hold seven baseball and softball games during the Tokyo Olympics behind closed doors in Fukushima Prefecture.

The no-spectator decision was a great disappointment for Fukushima, which had thought the Games — dubbed the “Recovery Olympics” — would be a great opportunity to show that the prefecture has recovered from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami as well as the subsequent triple meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

During an exclusive interview in March 2020, Seiko Hashimoto, then the Olympic minister who now serves as Tokyo Organising Committee President, said the Games will serve as an opportunity to restore “pride and confidence” in the affected areas.