Sanrio and Team USA have partnered ahead of Tokyo 2020 ©Twitter/hellokitty

Sanrio, the lifestyle brand known best for the cartoon character Hello Kitty, has partnered with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sanrio will be producing a limited-edition collection to mark the partnership and the Games.

It also coincides with Sanrio’s 60th anniversary.

Hello Kitty, the Japanese company’s flagship creation, will be “Global Ambassador for Inclusivity”.

Craig Takiguchi, Sanrio’s chief operating officer, said the company’s heritage was a big factor in pursuing the deal.

“With such a major presence and fanbase in the United States, it’s an incredible privilege to commemorate our Japanese roots by emerging in Tokyo alongside Team USA,” Takiguchi said.

“We hope that our collaboration will inspire future generations of athletes and continue to proliferate worldwide messages of friendship and kindness that the Games create.”

Hello Kitty was one of a number of iconic Japanese characters to appear in the handover portion of the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony.

Mario of Nintendo games fame, robotic cat Doraemon and footballer Captain Tsubasa also appeared, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe even dressing up as Mario in the segment.

“We are thrilled to work with Sanrio on this fun and inventive campaign,” said Peter Zeytoonjian, senior vice president of consumer products at United States Olympic and Paralympic Properties.

“These products are a celebration of Team USA’s excitement for the upcoming Tokyo Games – held in one of the world’s truly amazing cities – and a great new relationship with Hello Kitty.”

The special-edition Team USA range of Sanrio products will include clothing, toys, collectables and gifts and is expected to go on sale this summer.