By Duncan Mackay

Japan 2019 has appointed Akira Shimazu as its new secretary general ©IRBMarch 25 - Japan's former Internal Affairs Ministry official Akira Shimazu has been appointed secretary general of the 2019 Rugby World Cup Orgainsing Committee, it was announced today.

The 70-year-old Shimazu was the Ministry's administrative Vice-Minister.

The Kyushu University graduate will initially concentrate on selecting the venues that will host matches when the tournament is held for the first time in Asia.

A decision is due to be announced in March 2015, although it is already known that the National Stadium in Tokyo, currently being rebuilt according to a controversial Zaha Hadid desgin, will host the final. 

The new National Stadium in Tokyo will host the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup ©Japan Sports CouncilThe new National Stadium in Tokyo will host the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup
©Japan Sports Council

"The strength of the nation will be put to question," Shimazu said.

"I will do whatever I can."

His appointment has been hailed by Japan Rugby Football Union President Yoshirō Mori. as a vital one in the evolution of preparations for 2019 

"We're counting on him to lead everything until the tournament is successfully over," said Mori, who is also head of Tokyo 2020.

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