August 2 - Japanese Ministers from across the political spectrum have reaffirmed their commitment to hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and claim they are "excited about the opportunity" to deliver benefits to Japan, Asia and the global rugby community.
Speaking at a general meeting of the Members of Parliament Group for Success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Tokyo, the Ministers underscored their cross-party support and determination to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that the event is a success for all.
"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," said former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the vice-president of Japan 2019.
"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 group was to make an official request to the Japanese Government to rebuild our national stadium for 2019, which was eventually realised.
"We will continue working on various subjects for any assistance to make Rugby World Cup 2019 a great success."
Key items on the meeting's agenda included the outlining of plans to increase the visibility and profile of rugby and the world cup and to ensure a legacy beyond 2019 to deliver long-term boosts for the sport in Japan and Asia.
A recent victory over Wales and wins over Canada and the United States in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Pacific Nations Cup in 2013 have given rugby a timely boost within the country.
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 - and with plans in place to raise participation at a schools level hopes are high that the number will soon rise.
The meeting included an election for Board members of the Parliamentary and Nobutaka Machimura, the former Chief Cabinet Secretary, and Shinichi Nakatani, who belong to Japan's House of Representatives, were elected for the respective positions of President and secretary general.
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January 2013: Japan reveals selection process for 2019 Rugby World Cup
July 2009: England and Japan to host 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cup
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