Japan has revealed the 12 venues that will stage matches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with Kamaishi, a city devastated by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, among the list.
The venues are spread across the length and breadth of the country from the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo City in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, down to the Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium in Kumamoto City in the south.
There is also a mix of stadium capacities ranging from 80,000 at the New National Stadium Japan in Tokyo to 15,000 at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, with the city looking forward to host the rugby showpiece tournament as a thank you to all those who helped in the recovery effort following the earthquake and tsunami.
Other Japan 2019 host venues include those that staged matches during the FIFA World Cup 2002, including the 72,327-capacity International Stadium Yokohama, where the final was held, the Toyota Stadium in Aichi Prefecture, the Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium and the Oita Stadium.
The Kumagaya Rugby Ground in Kumagaya City, the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka Prefecture, the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka City and the Hakatanomori Football Stadium in Fukuoka City complete the list of Rugby World Cup host venues.
"This is an important milestone for the tournament," Rugby World Cup Limited chairman Bernard Lapasset said.
"Now we know exactly where the matches will be staged in Japan and, more importantly, the people of those cities and fans around the world can start planning for the big event.
"In 2019, hundreds of thousands of rugby fans will descend on Japan and millions more will watch on television as the world's best players compete for the right to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
"It will be a wonderful tournament and, as it's the first time Rugby World Cup will take place in Asia, it will be an important milestone for us as we continue to make good on our commitment to grow the global game."
Japan Rugby 2019 chief executive Akira Shimazu thanked the 15 candidates and said each of the selected host cities had "excellent credentials".
"Rugby World Cup 2019 is an event for which the entire nation of Japan, all its people, will be staging and rallying support," he added.
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