Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, a person close to him said Thursday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, dressed up as Super Mario, makes an appearance during the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 21, 2016. (Kyodo)

Abe spearheaded Japan's efforts to win the bid to host the Olympics in 2013. He stepped down last September citing health reasons.

The opening ceremony will be held Friday at the National Stadium with a limited number of VIPs and without general spectators due to the ongoing coronavirus.

Abe is also known for appearing in the cartoon costume of video game character Super Mario in a surprise appearance at the closing ceremony of the previous Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

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