Giant Olympic rings return to Tokyo as officials look forward to 2021 Games - in pictures

Olympics took unprecedented decision to delay the Games by 12 months in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Officials for the delayed Tokyo Olympics are hoping that the return of the giant rings to the city's waterfront will help people get excited next summer's Games.

Tokyo 2020 was postponed by 12 months in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but promising vaccine trials and an additional year to prepare have boosted hopes that the Games can go ahead without interruption.

In a sign that Tokyo is once again getting itself ready to host the Olympics, the 69-ton interlocking rings were reinstalled in the Odaiba bay area after maintenance and inspections. They returned on Tuesday with a fresh coat of paint and plans to light them up at night.

"We are working very hard so that we can hold an Olympic Games in which people will feel safe," Tokyo city government official Atsushi Yanashimizu told reporters.

"With the installation of the Olympic symbol, we would like more people to feel that the event is approaching soon and to feel excited about it."

The rings will stay in place until the end of the Olympics, and will then be replaced by the Paralympics symbol in mid-August.

A poll in July showed that just one in four people in Japan wanted to see the Games held in 2021, with most backing either a further delay or a cancellation.

Olympic and Japanese officials have said they remain committed to holding the Games next year, and International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach said in Tokyo last month he was "very, very confident" that spectators will be able to attend.

"We would like many people to come here and see it and feel the momentum, while being cautious about virus prevention" said Yanashimizu.