Japan’s tenure as current Rugby World Cup hosts kicked off in Tokyo this week with World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset and Chief Executive Brett Gosper meeting Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to talk all matters preparation and partnership.
Japan rugby is on a high with the national team’s best-ever Rugby World Cup campaign delivering a record domestic television audience for a rugby event of 25 million and widespread media coverage and public excitement with children the length and breadth of Japan emulating the unique kicking style of tournament dream team full-back Ayumu Goromaru.
Last weekend, Japan’s men’s sevens team also booked their place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, while their women’s team won the first of two tournaments to determine Asia’s qualifier.
With the hosting ball well and truly passed on to Japan 2019, preparations have been accelerating. An impressive inventory of 12 iconic venues, coupled with confirmed tournament dates of 20 September to 2 November and a vibrant and symbolic new tournament logo, means that major event fans across Japan can join the global rugby family in planning their Rugby World Cup 2019 experience.
As the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia, there is a great deal of excitement across the rugby family that Japan 2019 will be a game-changer.
Lapasset said: “Being here in Tokyo you can really feel the excitement and pride that Rugby World Cup 2015 has injected into the country and also the sense of responsibility and determination to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2019 is both spectacular and successful in every way.
“We are feeling the full support of government from national level, through Prime Minister Abe (pictured above receiving a match ball from Japan's win over South Africa), to regional and local level through the host cities and prefectures, which is very exciting.
“We also have a strong partnership with the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee and Japan Rugby Football Union based on a shared vision and mission. There is much work to be done, but I am confident that planning and preparation is on track to deliver something very special, a ground-breaking Rugby World Cup.”
The meetings with Prime Minister Abe were an opportunity to reiterate mutual partnership based on a vision of inclusivity, accessibility and the desire to deliver a Rugby World Cup that is good for Japan, good for Asia and good for the global rugby family.
Lapasset added: “Mr Abe expressed his excitement at hosting our event and outlined full government support as we move into this critical phase of planning and delivery. He told us that Japan is proud to be host of Rugby World Cup 2019 and that they want to deliver an event that everyone can be proud of.