January 4 - A timescale for the selection of venues for the Rugby World Cup in 2019, along with the criteria for potential venues, has been announced by Japanese organisers.
Japan 2019 are due to announce the venues for the World Cup in May 2015, following a "vigorous selection process" according to board president, Fujio Mitarai.
Details of the requirements for potential host stadiums were also announced following a meeting of the Organising Board, as the country prepares to host the first Rugby World Cup to take place in Asia.
Japan 2019 hope to leave a lasting legacy from hosting the World Cup, and they will select venues according to their potential ability to create "excitement" in order to raise the sport's profile across the continent, whilst ensuring that the whole country benefits from hosting the event by having various venues spread all over Japan.
"We have been across the country talking to local Governments and venue owners who expressed their interest in hosting Rugby World Cup games." said Mitarai.
During the bid process four years ago Japan had promised to host matches in Hong Kong and Singapore if their campaign was successful.
It is not clear whether this is still on the agenda.
But Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) chairman, Bernard Lapasset, is still predicting that the tournament will be an historic success.
"Japan 2019 will be a major milestone - the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia and we are working in partnership with Japan 2019, the Japan Rugby Football Union, JSC (Japan Sport Council) and local and regional authorities to bring to life a shared vision that ensures that the hosting of the tournament delivers multiple strong positive impacts so that rugby growth is boosted throughout Asia," he said.
"This process is another significant step along the way to achieving that goal and I am delighted that there is such strong interest and appetite from venue and cities wanting to host matches at Rugby World Cup 2019, underscoring the strength of the Rugby World Cup brand."
Nationwide research will begin this month as Japan 2019 look to receive feedback from those involved in the sport in Japan.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
July 2009: England and Japan to host 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cup
May 2009: Japan will share Rugby World Cup matches around Asia