A great nation with 120 million inhabitants, Japan was the first Asian nation to organize the games. Tokyo organized the Summer games in 1964 and Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, organized the Winter games in 1972 . Nagano, in the Japanese Alps, also organized the Winter games in 1998.Japan invented the first swimming competitions in the 17th century and it was a discipline which suited the Japanese well. They dominated the Olympic swimming events until their exclusion when their country went to war. Ally of Germany, Japan did not take part in the 1948 games in London and St Moritz. Since its reinstatement, Japan has distinguished itself in particular in gymnastics.