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Japan's Prime Minister just rocked up to the Olympics dressed as Mario

Shadow the Hedgehog, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen.

Back when Beijing was handing the Olympics over to London in 2008, we were treated to the spectacle of one-man omnishambles Boris Johnson sheepishly taking on the flag to mark the handover before London 2012. Japan, which is cueing up 2020's games in Tokyo, has done things a little differently - and with a little more style.

A short, neatly edited teaser trailer showcased Japan at its electric best, featuring cameos from such icons as the Shinkansen, Doraemon and Pac-Man. But they saved the best to last.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a brief appearance in the trailer, worrying that he won't make it to the closing ceremony in Rio in time for Japan's handover appearance, but he's then given a little helping hand from one of the country's most famous exports.

Abe not only transforms into Mario via a little CG, but he also appeared in the stadium in Rio via a warp-pipe and dressed as Mario before shedding the dungarees and revealing a more respectable suit underneath. If that's any indication of what to expect for the next Olympics, 2020 could be very, very special indeed.

Mario's got previous with the Olympics, of course, having been featured in various Mario & Sonic at The Olympic Games titles over the years. This year's entry gained some notoriety for Shadow the Hedgehog's seemingly foul-mouthed cameo - thankfully the filthy critter was nowhere to be seen during Japan's moment in the spotlight last night.

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Martin Robinson

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Martin is Eurogamer's editor-in-chief. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.

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