The artist's impression of the new National Stadium that will host RWC 2019 matches
- Tournament to inspire participation in Asia with planning on track
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Rugby World Cup 2019 will be the first time the showcase global event has been staged in Asia and will be the biggest-ever single sport event to be hosted in Japan. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid building momentum, the event is superbly placed to capitalise on the Japanese public's hunger for sport and nationwide festivals.
Speaking following highly-positive meetings between the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee and representatives from tournament owners Rugby World Cup Limited on the eve of a record-breaking Tokyo Sevens, Japan Rugby 2019 (JR 2019) President Fujio Mitarai said Japan will be excellent hosts of Rugby’s showcase event, using the platform to springboard the growth of Rugby in Asia.
"Our vision is to bring people together the length and breadth of Japan to experience and live Rugby's character-building values of solidarity, passion, integrity, respect and discipline through a world-class sporting and cultural event that will inspire a new generation of Rugby fans and players here and throughout Asia," said Mr Mitarai.
"We want people to be talking about Rugby, to be excited about Rugby and to be inspired by Rugby. We have a golden opportunity with Rugby World Cup 2019 to connect with new audiences, a younger generation and re-establish the sport as a major entertainment force in Japan."
Planning and preparation is on track with a number of major milestones achieved in 2012, including the finalisation of the policy and timeline for the selection of match venues, the appointment of a Board with significant major business experience and JR 2019's application for Public Interest Incorporated Foundation (PIIF) status in Japan to ensure that the tournament can benefit from key government provisions and services.
A significant boost also came in the form of the news that the new National Stadium, the venue at the heart of Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Games bid, will debut at Rugby World Cup 2019. Innovative plans are also in place to deliver world class sporting and hospitality facilities for Rugby's showcase event.
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Japan is aiming to be at the very heart of the global sports industry over the next decade and that is very exciting for Rugby. All stakeholders are committed to ensuring that the positive impacts of hosting this prestigious event are strongly felt before, during and long after hosting."
This year will be critical in launching that vision as JR 2019, in partnership with the Japan Rugby Football Union and Rugby World Cup Limited, begin the process of implementing the marketing and impact programmes that will underpin the delivery of the tournament and ensure that Rugby World Cup 2019 has maximum visibility, while delivering lasting benefits for Rugby in Japan and Asia.
"This tournament is not just about delivering a world-class event that enhances the Rugby brand, but an event that is interactive, that will provide the catalyst for Rugby's unprecedented growth throughout our Asian Unions. We are determined to ensure that the opportunity to engage new audiences and participants is maximised," added Lapasset.
Mr Mitarai continued: "This opportunity is about partnership. We are engaging the government, regions and business to ensure that all can experience the positive sporting, tourism and trade benefits that go hand in glove with hosting one of the world's best known and most successful major sporting events. 2019 will be a huge year for our nation."
Rugby is currently enjoying a significant boost in profile in Japan. The national team had a highly-successful November 2012 tour, defeating both Georgia and Romania, while reigning 6 Nations champions Wales will play two Tests in Japan in June.
This weekend Tokyo hosts a round of the record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series, aiming to build on a strong hosting debut in 2012 having attracted an unprecedented broadcast platform, while the men’s and women’s Japan Sevens teams have qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, underscoring their dominance of the Game in Asia.
Rugby is also winning over hearts and minds of new fans in Japan. The flagship domestic Top League continues to attract some of the Game’s biggest stars, from Welsh legend Shane Williams, Australia stars George Gregan and George Smith to Rugby World Cup winners Sonny Bill Williams and Jerome Kaino.
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