Comment by the Japanese Prime Minister
"We were wrong. The Earth is an ellipse."
More than 20 years ago, in 1987, the inaugural Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand and Australia. The predominant All Blacks went on to win the championship, but this was a headline said to have been used by a French newspaper for an article on the impressive performance of the French national team in the semifinals.
Every year, many people around the world run furiously in pursuit of the oval-shaped "Earth", score tries, cheer their favourite teams, and shout themselves hoarse in their enthusiasm. The International Rugby Board has taken the decision to hold the 2019 Rugby World Cup -- a competition which is rich in tradition and is the foremost international rugby event -- in Japan. I am very pleased and feel proud as a Japanese citizen.
Rugby football teaches many things to young people around the world, such as the spirits of "One for all, all for one" and "No side". It also encourages players to show respect for the opponent as well as to cherish members of one's own side.
It was a long-held dream of rugby players and fans throughout Japan for our country to host the Rugby World Cup. I express my sincere respect and gratitude to all concerned, not least the members of the Japan Rugby Football Association who have fulfilled their dream, for the zeal and dedication they showed in bringing the Rugby World Cup to this country.
The Japanese government intends to cooperate to the fullest extent, so that the first championship of its kind to be held in Asia shall prove to be a splendid, soul-stirring event which provides excitement, hopes and dreams to countless children and youths.