Prime Minister Shinzo Abe excited by prospect of best-ever Rugby World Cup

Japan's Prime Mininster Shinzo Abe and World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont are ready for a special Rugby World Cup.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont believe that Japan is perfectly placed to host the best-ever Rugby World Cup with seven days to go until kick-off.

With teams receiving incredible welcomes the length and the breadth of the nation, Prime Minister Abe told Beaumont that he believes that rugby fever will sweep the nation and Japan will be the most welcoming of hosts to the world’s top players and a travelling supporter-base of more than 400,000.

During a special meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence in front of the nation’s media, the pair discussed wide-ranging matters relating to the staging of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, including legacy, host city engagement and Japan’s love of major events.

Prime Minister Abe said: “I am excited about Rugby World Cup and welcoming the world’s best teams and people from all over the world.

“I am looking forward to the opening ceremony and opening match and hope for a great performance from the Japan national team.

“The iconic Webb Ellis Cup is a symbol of strength, hard work and courage and I appreciate the hard work of many people who have made this possible. I am sure that we can work together to make a very special occasion, the best tournament.”

On his first official engagement since arriving in Tokyo on Thursday, Beaumont, who toured Japan with England in the early 1980s, praised preparation and urged Japan to embrace the opportunity of a six-week global spotlight.

Beaumont said: “I would like to thank you Prime Minister Abe, your government, the host cities and the people of Japan for your full and enthusiastic support of our tournament.

“The welcome the teams have received so far across the country has been phenomenal – they are telling us that they have never seen anything like it. From the host cities, volunteers and public, everyone is keen and showing their full support, which is fantastic.

“We want you to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity to host one of the world’s biggest and best-loved major sports events. From record nationwide economic impact to a global tourism, trade and event host shop window, this is Japan’s moment to shine on the world stage.

“The support that your government and local governments have provided is greatly appreciated. We know that the rugby flame has been lit, that interest is phenomenal and that more young people in Japan are getting into rugby than every before. I urge you to help us maintain that momentum through continued sustainable participation programmes.

“The waiting is over. Over the next two months, the world will see the very best of Japanese culture and hospitality and the very best of rugby as we anticipate what promises to be a very compelling and competitive Rugby World Cup, the most transformational and, we hope, the best yet.”

The remaining tickets for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan are now on sale via www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.

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