“Until now the World Cup has been held in countries from the tri-nations and six nations tournaments but we think and the IRB thinks that it is time for rugby to go global,” said Koji Tokumasu.

France will host the next edition of the Rugby World Cup, that has employed a number of different hosting strategies since the competition was launched in 1987. The first hosts were Australia and New Zealand, with the 1991 tournament staged across the UK – including Northern Ireland and France. In 1995 South Africa hosted the tournament single-handed but in 1999, with Wales as hosts, games were again played across five European territories.

While Japan clearly has the infrastructure and facilities to stage a successful World Cup, the widespread underlying local passion for rugby is questionable.

That said, Japanese sports fans demonstrated their willingness to run out for the big occasion when the nation co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup.