Japan have a big lead in the men's baseball rankings ©Getty Images

Japan remain the leading nation in men's and women's baseball following the release of the latest world rankings.

The country has a commanding 6,127 points in the men's rankings after updated lists were published by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

Second-placed United States trail on 4,676 with Japan now guaranteed to enter their home Tokyo 2020 Olympics in July and August in top spot.

Japan warmed up for the Games in perfect style, winning the WBSC Premier12 tournament in November.

South Korea are currently third in the rankings on 4,622 points. 

Ten new countries have entered the leaderboard which now features a record 85 nations and territories.

Japan won the Premier12 title in November ©Getty Images
Japan won the Premier12 title in November ©Getty Images

They are Uganda at 49th, Zimbabwe at 53rd, Burkina Faso at 57th, Kenya at 62nd, Nigeria at 70th, Fiji at 72nd, Ghana and Tanzania at joint 73rd, Bangladesh at 79th and Palau at 82nd.

In women's baseball, Japan lead the way with 2,505 points.

Canada are second on 1,947 and Chinese Taipei are third on 1,852.

A record 20 countries are included in all, with six nations making their debuts after the launch of their women's baseball programmes.

They are Mexico at 14th, Philippines at 15th, China at 16th, France at 18th, Nicaragua at 19th and Czech Republic at 20th.

Men's baseball and women's softball are both making their Olympic returns at Tokyo 2020, after being axed following Beijing 2008.