With a year to go before Tokyo 2020 begins, a new forecast suggests that Japan is on course to lift its medal haul by a bigger percentage than any Summer Olympic host nation for nearly 30 years.
The projection, by Gracenote Sports, a sports data company, puts Japan in front of Russia in third place in the Tokyo 2020 medals table with a total of 67 medals, 29 of them gold.
Three years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Japan ranked sixth with 41 medals, just 12 of which were gold.
This itself was an improvement from London 2012, where Japan finished 11th in the table after amassing 38 medals, including only seven golds.
Gracenote says that the 63 per cent increase in Japan's projected medal haul next year would be the biggest improvement by a host nation since Spain at Barcelona 1992.
Spain mustered 22 medals when the Games came to Catalonia, up from just four at the Seoul 1988 Olympics.
The United States actually won fewer medals when it hosted the Olympics at Atlanta in 1996 than it had four years earlier, but otherwise recent Summer Games hosts have always registered an increased medals tally compared with the prior Games.
For Australia in 2000, the uptick amounted to 41 per cent, for Greece in 2004 it was 23 per cent, for China in 2008 it was 59 per cent, for Great Britain in 2012 it was 33 per cent and fir Brazil in 2016 it was 12 per cent.
As well as the presence of popular local sports karate and baseball on the Tokyo 2020 programme, Japan should – like other countries – be helped in its quest for a bumper medals haul for its athletes by the jump in the number of events to be contested in and around the Japanese capital compared with Rio.
All told, Tokyo 2020 is set to feature 339 events compared with 306 at Rio 2016 – an increase of nearly 11 per cent.
Gracenote has predicted that the US tops the Tokyo 2020 medal table, with China in second place.