Next year's Tokyo Olympics will follow an almost identical competition schedule as the one planned for this year before the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have confirmed.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese government decided in March to postpone the Games until 2021 and organisers have been working to rearrange an event almost a decade in the making.

The new date for the opening ceremony at the newly-built National Stadium - 23 July, 2021 - had already been announced but the full schedule was pending final approval until today when the Tokyo 2020 organising committee made a presentation to the IOC Session in Lausanne. 

The Games had been set to begin on 24 July this year.

The new schedule means women's softball will kick off competition at 9am (0000 GMT) in Fukushima on 21 July, two days before the Games officially open, with all events taking place a day earlier than the 2020 schedule.

There have also been some minor changes to session times.

The Games are set to be the biggest ever in terms of events, with a record 339 medals available, before the closing ceremony on 8 August.

One of the biggest hurdles for organisers was securing the 42 venues needed for the Games as many had already been booked for 2021.

However, Tokyo 2020 Executive Director of Operations Satoshi Yamashita said this week all venues had been "secured verbally".

The marathon and race walking events will remain in the northern city of Sapporo after being controversially moved out of Tokyo because of the anticipated scorching summer heat. 

A committee featuring officials from the Japanese government would begin discussions in September on Covid-19 countermeasures for the Games, Muto said.
He said this would look at areas such as immigration controls, testing structures and treatment.
Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, questioned those in Japan who have called for the Games to be cancelled, warning: "If we cancel the Games the cost will be two times the current cost that is required.
"We do not decide on the fate of the Olympic Games considering only the convenience of Japan alone."
Asked to expand on why costs would increase in the event of cancellation, he said: "If you follow the conventional thinking and common knowledge, if the Games are cancelled it's going to create a lot of waste.
"You have already invested in certain things and if the Games are not going to happen it certainly will result in a big (amount of) waste.
"For example, if the Games are cancelled who is going to make the compensation for various reasons? Who is going to pay the money to compensate for the losses? If you follow the common knowledge you would easily come to two times or even three times more (in additional cost)."