At least 500,000 foreign fans expected to visit Japan for World Cup
Japan Today -- Feb 22
With seven months until the opening of the Rugby World Cup, organizing committee CEO Akira Shimazu said Thursday the number of foreign fans at the quadrennial tournament has far "exceeded his expectations."

Speaking at the Foreign Press Center Japan in Tokyo, he said the World Cup will see about 500,000 tickets sold to foreign fans who will travel throughout Japan, including Kamaishi in the country's northeast -- a city that hopes to showcase its recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

While most foreign arrivals last year were from Asian countries -- with only 7 percent from traditional rugby nations such as Britain -- Shimazu says the Rugby World Cup will allow Japan to introduce its attractions to first-time visitors.

"I'm sure the lineup of inbound tourists will change drastically with the Rugby World Cup in Japan and that will be a big legacy to be left after the tournament," he said, adding it will pave the way as Japan continues to host sporting events beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"The World Cup period will be the most wonderful time of the year in Japan. I hope everyone will enjoy the rugby games but also the entire country."

The Sept 20-Nov 2 tournament, the first Rugby World Cup hosted in Asia, will see 20 teams contesting 48 matches in 12 cities stretching from Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido to Kyushu in the southwest.

News source: Japan Today
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