Marco Balich said that coronavirus must be mentioned at the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony executive producer Marco Balich has said that the COVID-19 crisis must be referenced at the event as it is the reason the Olympics were postponed.

The 2020 Games will now open on July 23 next year due to the ongoing pandemic which to date has more than 787,000 confirmed cases worldwide, and more than 37,800 deaths related to the spread.

Balich said that preparations for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies were nearly complete before the virus halted opportunities to practice, and the Italian thinks that this disruption needs to be referenced.

"I think for sure the Olympic Ceremony, which is a window of all humanity, will have to reflect somehow or reference somehow what has happened," he told Reuters in an interview.

"We already had prototypes and started rehearsals, we were in very good shape.

"I think given this difficult decision, what our ceremonies team can now do is refresh and have a unique opportunity to rethink and use them to make them the biggest celebration with Olympic values."

It is the first time in Olympic history that a Games has been postponed, with the last ones to be affected the London 1944 and Cortina d'Ampezzo 1944 Summer and Winter Olympics which were cancelled during wartime. 

Balich has also said the effect the virus has had on the world can be used as a "renaissance of the planet".

"The creative team will have to acknowledge what has happened," he said.

"In this beautiful Japanese aesthetic, they will address some kind of a message for this new way of living we all have to confront."

Famous Japanese creations like Super Mario, Hello Kitty and Captain Tsubasa were rumoured to be part of the original Opening Ceremony line-up.