Softball will return to the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 ©WBSC

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) have announced the schedule for the Tokyo 2020 softball competition, which is due to begin in Fukushima on July 22.

Hosts Japan are due to play Australia in the first official competition of the Olympic Games, with their tie due to be held at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

The contest will begin at 9am Japanese Standard Time, which will also mark softball's first appearance at the Games since Beijing 2008.

Italy and top-ranked United States will play the second match of the day, before Mexico face Canada.

The first six games of the Olympic softball competition will be played in Fukushima, as Japan aims to highlight regeneration efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

"We are humbled and honoured that softball will open the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and do so in a city that embodies, more than any other, sport's unique power to unite and rebuild communities," said Riccardo Fraccari, WBSC President.

"This will send a powerful message of Olympic values to all spectators around the world.

"And today with the announcement of the schedule for softball's return to the Olympic Games, the athletes will know the path to Olympic gold as they continue preparing to realise their Olympic dreams."

The full match schedule for the tournament has been announced ©WBSC
The full match schedule for the tournament has been announced ©WBSC

Each team will play each other once in the round-robin stage of the competition, which is due to take place from July 22 to 27.

No matches have been scheduled for July 24 to allow for softball athletes to participate in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Matches will resume the following day at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium.

The venue will hold the final three days of round robin matches, as well as the gold and bronze medal contests.

The top two teams in the round will play for gold on July 28, while the third and fourth place teams will compete for bronze.

The Olympic baseball schedule will be announced in the coming days.