The Olympics is set to be staged in Japan just a year after it plays host to the Rugby World Cup following the International Olympic Committee's decision to award the 2020 Games to Tokyo.
The Japan Rugby Football Union were handed the 2019 World Cup back in 2009 and the country will now also host the Olympic Rugby Sevens event the following year after Tokyo edged out Madrid and Istanbul in a vote held in Buenos Aires earlier today. Rugby is set to return to the Olympic stage for the first time since 1924 when Sevens takes centre stage at the 2016 Games in Rio.
International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset has welcomed the chance for the sport to raise its profile in what is viewed as a key market. "We are excited about the IOC's decision to award the 2020 Olympic Games to Tokyo," he said. "Hosting RWC and Olympic Games Rugby Sevens in consecutive years presents a golden opportunity to further Rugby participation and interest in Japan and Asia."
It will be the second time the Japanese capital has hosted the Games having previously done so in 1964. The vote by the International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires saw Tokyo win the first round of voting with Istanbul and Madrid polling the same number of votes. A tie-break saw Madrid eliminated by four votes to set up a final round between Istanbul and Tokyo with the Japanese city emerging triumphant.
President of Japan Rugby 2019 Fujio Mitarai said: "This exciting decision means that Japan will host two of the world's top three global sporting events in consecutive years, reinforcing Japan's status as a sports-loving nation with an ambition to deliver exceptional major events. We offer our full congratulations to all of the Tokyo 2020 team, who did so much to secure this great victory." We also believe that Tokyo's role as a Host City for the 2020 Games is good news for Rugby World Cup 2019. The two events will work very well together."
He added: "Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a nationwide celebration of Japan's sporting passion, culture and heritage and will showcase its people, cities, trade and tourism to an unprecedented global broadcast audience of 4 billion during six weeks of world-class competition.
"Rugby World Cup 2019 will also be the first major event to be hosted in Tokyo's innovative new national stadium. And with strong central and regional government and sports council support, Rugby World Cup 2019 is well-positioned to maximise the benefits of preceding the Olympic Games and help grow the excitement among sports fans.
"It is a key objective of the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia to inspire new audiences and participants throughout Japan and across Asia by making the event accessible to all."
"We intend to pass the major event baton to Tokyo 2020 with sports fever and Japan's national pride at an all time high."