July 23 Tokyo 2020 Olympics news and results

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Aditi Sangal, John Sinnott, Matias Grez, Melissa Mahtani and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0417 GMT (1217 HKT) July 24, 2021
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9:26 p.m. ET, July 22, 2021

What we know about the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony

From CNN's Ben Morse

The opening ceremony for this year's Summer Games — which were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic — will take place Friday in Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

Usually held in a stadium full of ecstatic fans, this year's ceremony will have athletes from across the globe parading in a near empty venue after it was announced that spectators would not be allowed to attend because of rising Covid-19 cases in Japan.

"The most difficult part of the process was that the postponement meant a simplification of the ceremonies and the message had to be drastically revised," said Takayuki Hioki, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee executive producer of ceremonies.

"After nearly five years of planning, we found ourselves suddenly having to rethink everything. This was the biggest challenge," said Hioki.

Due to restrictions, only a select number of officials and some dignitaries will be present for the opening ceremony.

Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Hidemasa Nakamura told CNN that about 950 VIPs will take part in the event. The total will include around 800 foreign guests and 150 from Japan, CNN affiliate TV Asahi reported.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito, who will declare the Olympics open, will be attending without any other member of the imperial family, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

With all the struggles and difficulties that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has faced to stage the Games in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, president Thomas Bach believes it will be a moment of "joy and relief."

However as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Tokyo, there will be notable absentees. Japanese automaker Toyota has confirmed its CEO, Akio Toyoda, will not be attending the ceremony.