LONDON – Koji Tokumasu, the general manager of Japan Rugby 2019 (the local organizing committee for the 2019 Rugby World Cup), said Thursday that a revised road map for the tournament that includes venue changes and a smaller operating budget has been sent to World Rugby.
Japan’s plans were thrown into disarray following the loss of Tokyo’s National Stadium as a venue for the tournament, but although this means a budget squeeze, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has given it the thumbs up, according to committee vice president Yoshiro Mori.
“I was told (by Gosper) that it was better (than the initial plan),” Mori told reporters after meeting with Gosper and World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“I was told that once the England tournament is over, cooperation with Japan would start immediately,” he added.
Japan originally planned to use a newly built National Stadium for the opening game, semifinals, final and key pool clashes. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided in July to halt the project amid mounting criticisms over the rising construction costs and seek a new design for the stadium, which is to be used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
According to sources, the revised plan sees the opening game being held at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium, which has a capacity of around 50,000, with the final at the 72,000 capacity Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
Lapasset is set to travel to Japan to meet Abe following the final of Rugby World Cup 2015, which kicks off Friday in London.