COVID-19 has affected 95 per cent of Paralympic exchange programmes across Japan ©Getty Images

The most recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Japan has forced 95 per cent of the nation's cities and towns planning to host exchange programmes for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to cancel and change its preparations.

According to a Kyodo News survey, of the 101 local governments that applied for the initiative, 36 per cent had scrapped their events.

Another 59 per cent decided to move their events online or in other formats not in-person.

Only two per cent of local governments have decided to green light their plans, according to the report conducted between late July and mid-August.

Another two local governments did not reply to the survey.

Of those who have changed their plans, 37 per cent said they were concerned about potential effects from COVID-19.

Japan's latest spike of COVID-19 cases has saw the nation hit record numbers.

A new high of 23,918 cases were recorded yesterday, far surpassing the previous daily high of 20,332 last Saturday (August 14).

There were 34 deaths reported yesterday, showing an increasing trend following the Olympics, but below the peaks in February, May and June; which frequently reported more than 100 deaths a day.

To date, there has been more than 1.2 million cases of COVID-19, resulting in the deaths of 15,501 people.

Approximately 40 per cent of Japan is fully-vaccinated, with half of the population receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Beppu was set to welcome Laos' powerlifting team before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty Images
Beppu was set to welcome Laos' powerlifting team before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty Images

Kenji Kanada, a 48-year-old wheelchair user in Beppu in the south west of Japan, was disappointed by his local event being cancelled.

"I was excited to see [the athletes] from a close distance as I imagined that must have been compelling," said Kanada to Kyodo News.

Laos' powerlifting team were set to visit Beppu for its training camp prior to the Games.

The programme, which was also set for the Olympic Games, was promoted as a cultural exchange between locals and foreign athletes, as well as build a better understanding with disabled people.

Side projects, such as workshops and events allowing people to travel, are still largely set to take place.

Only nine per cent of these have been cancelled according to the survey, but another 41 per cent had been scaled down or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other half of these projects are unaffected.

Despite the disruptions, 63 per cent of local governments said their accessibility for disabled people at public facilities had improved since joining the initiative.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are scheduled to take place from Tuesday (August 24) to September 5.