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Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday night. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

TOKYO – Holding the U.S. team to just three hits, Olympic host country Japan captured the first gold medal for softball in a dozen years, winning 2-0.

Why it matters: Japan is the Americans' main rival in softball. The sport's Olympic future remains uncertain.

The U.S. came into the gold medal game undefeated, having beaten Japan 2-1 on Monday. However, the team struggled on offense, producing just 7 runs during those four games.

  • Japan's only loss, meanwhile, was that narrow defeat to the U.S.

What's next: Softball won't be in the 2024 Paris Olympics, but could be back for the Games in Los Angeles four years later.

Go deeper: Softball at the Tokyo Olympics, in photos

Go deeper

Updated Oct 4, 2021 - World

Japan's Parliament elects Fumio Kishida as prime minister

Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after winning the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election on Sept. 29 in Tokyo. Photo: Du Xiaoyi - Pool/Getty Images

Japan's Parliament elected Fumio Kishida as the country's new prime minister on Monday.

Why it matters: The former foreign minister faces immediate challenges, including reviving the world's third-largest economy and working with the U.S. and other key allies to address security threats, per the Wall Street Journal.

Updated 55 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 12 adults and five children from a U.S.-based missionary group kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based group said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September quarter in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.