Government support reaffirmed for RWC 2019
Japan’s top ministers have reaffirmed their collective cross-party commitment to the delivery of an outstanding Rugby World Cup 2019 that will deliver significant and wide-ranging benefits for Japan, Asia and the global Rugby community.
At the general meeting of the Members of Parliament Group for Success of Rugby World Cup 2019 held in Tokyo last week, the ministers underscored their cross-party support of the Japan Rugby 2019 (JR 2019) organising body and determination to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that the event is a success for all.
Key agenda items included the outlining of plans to increase the visibility and profile of Rugby and one of the world’s largest sports event within Japan and support of the tournament’s IMPACT beyond 2019 programme, which will deliver long-term boosts for Rugby in Japan and Asia.
Japan currently has around 110,000 men, women and children actively playing the sport – a figure that puts the nation inside the world’s top five Rugby-playing nations and the largest in Asia. A recent victory over Wales and impressive performances in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup have given a timely visibility boost within the country.
With increased participation targeted and Rugby’s character-building values a perfect fit for Japan’s education strategy, the group also discussed the continued implementation of a nationwide engagement programme that will target Rugby participation in schools in partnership with the Japan Rugby Football Union and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
JR 2019 Vice President and former Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori said: “The hosting of this meeting is a very important step towards the collaborative delivery of what will be the biggest single sport event ever hosted in Japan and the first Rugby World Cup in Asia.”
“The group is excited about the opportunity that the event will deliver for Japan, its people, economy and also for our close friends in Asia. Having cross-party support is a critical facet in the successful delivery of a major sports event. The first big achievement which was created by this MPs’ group was to make an official request to the Japanese Government to rebuild our national stadium for 2019, and it eventually realised. We will continue working on various subjects for any assistance to make RWC 2019 a great success."
The meeting also comprised an election for board members and Nobutaka Machimura, a member of the House of Representatives (former Chief Cabinet Secretary and Minister of MEXT, Japan’s liberal democratic party) was elected as new president and Shinichi Nakatani, another member of the House of Representatives (MEXT) was elected secretary-general. Mr Fukui, Deputy Minister of MEXT and Ichiro Kono, President of Japan Sport Council, also attended the meeting.
Underscoring their love of the Game, 13 parliamentary members participated in a practice session before the meeting. The Japan national women’s Sevens team members also joined to assist the practice session.