Photo/Illutration Pictograms shown during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics at the National Stadium on July 23 (Toshiyuki Hayashi)

An estimated 70.61 million people in Japan--more than half of the country’s population--watched the July 23 Olympic Opening Ceremony on TV, according to audience rating firm Video Research Ltd.

The company’s preliminary figures, released on July 26, showed that the household viewership rate for the nearly four-hour ceremony averaged 56.4 percent in the Kanto region, which includes the capital.

In the previous Tokyo Games of 1964, the rate for Kanto was 61.2 percent.

The household viewership rate for the latest ceremony was 49.6 percent in the Kansai region and Nagoya and 48.2 percent in northern Kyushu, according to Video Research.

The viewership for the Kanto region soared to 61.0 percent momentarily for the performance featuring carpenters and firefighters from the Edo Period (1603-1867), with actress Miki Maya in the lead role, as well as during the athletes’ parade.

The ceremony at the National Stadium was aired live by public broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK).

As for the individual viewer rating, it was 40.0 percent in the Kanto region. Based on individual viewer ratings in the nation’s 32 districts, Video Research said 70.61 million people in Japan watched the live broadcast.

The household viewer ratings for the Opening Ceremony in the Kanto region were 35.8 percent for the 1998 Nagano Olympics, 30.1 percent for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, 23.6 percent for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, 13.7 percent for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and 24.9 percent for the 2012 London Olympics.

In the United States, an estimated 17 million people watched NBC’s telecast of the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, the lowest number over the past 33 years, according to preliminary figures cited by U.S. news outlets.

The next lowest number of U.S. viewers, at 21.6 million, for an Opening Ceremony of the Summer Games was for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.