Historic day for inclusivity and diversity in Japanese rugby

Prime Minister's wife attends signing of memorandum of understanding between Japan Rugby Football Union and International Gay Rugby in Tokyo.

TOKYO, 4 Oct - History was made on Friday when the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) signed a memorandum of understanding with International Gay Rugby (IGR) in Tokyo to foster inclusivity and diversity programmes in Japan.

Among those present for the signing was Mrs Akie Abe, wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and World Rugby Financial Director Robert Brophy.

The announcement follows similar agreement signings between IGR and national rugby unions, including Rugby Australia and USA Rugby.

 World Rugby partnered with IGR in 2015, with a mission statement to recognise and respect:

  • the right of any player, official and spectator to be involved with rugby without discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or identification
    • the common goal of inclusion and the elimination of homophobia in rugby

World Rugby and IGR also consults on issues of importance to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and the game of rugby by:

  • developing a positive and mutually beneficial relationship based on a sense of shared purpose
    • working with regional associations and member unions to improve tolerance and acceptance of LGBT players at all levels within rugby union
    • providing educational tools to World Rugby member unions to support in the elimination of homophobia in rugby
    • supporting the promotion and development of IGR’s events


Photo: William Howell - President of the World Barbarians Foundation; Allen Vansen - CEO, Rugby Canada; Ben Owen - Chair, IGR; Mrs. Akie Abe - Spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan; H.E. Mr. Lulama Smuts Ngonyama - Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Japan; Aaron Pokluda - Coordinator, International Inclusive Challenge; Mr. Nobuta Tsunemi - Director of the Board, Japanese Rugby Football Union.