Japan opens arms to half a million fans for Rugby World Cup
Nikkei -- Aug 22
With the Rugby World Cup kicking off Sept. 20 in Japan, communities across the country are preparing for the 500,000-plus visitors expected to attend.

Nearly 50 games will be played across 12 Japanese cities through the final Nov. 2. City governments and local businesses hope that the fans will take the opportunity to see more of Japan as they travel to the various venues.

"We already have several group reservations, including a 40-member amateur rugby team from Australia," said Ryusuke Hasegawa, who runs the Irish pub Brian Brew in the city of Sapporo.

Australia will play at the Sapporo Dome on Sept. 21, and England plays there the next day. About 20,000 foreign fans are expected to flock to the city to watch the teams, and Hasegawa plans to stock six to eight times as much beer as for a typical weekend.

Volunteers will distribute maps of local restaurants and bars to foreign visitors around the stadium and in town, according to the Sapporo city government. Suppliers are considering night deliveries to bars to ensure that fans do not run dry.

About 30% of the World Cup audience is expected to consist of foreign visitors primarily from Europe, Australia and the U.S.

"Fans from countries with strong teams, like in Europe, are extremely dedicated," a source involved in the competition said. "They are at their closest pub from the morning, then they return after the games to discuss rugby at length with beer in hand."

Unlike the Olympics, which are hosted by a single city at a time, the Rugby World Cup will be held throughout Japan from the northernmost main island of Hokkaido to the southernmost of Kyushu. The games are also spaced about a week apart, since they can be physically hard on players. Many fans will spend part of that time sightseeing while traveling to the next venue by rental car and train.

News source: Nikkei
May 30
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Friday that phase two of the capital’s three-part plan to peel back coronavirus countermeasures will begin on Monday. (Japan Times)
May 30
The city of Kitakyushu in Japan's southwest said Friday it has been hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections following a recent surge in the number of new cases. (Japan Today)
May 30
The Air Self-Defense Force’s Blue Impulse acrobatics team on Friday performed a flyover over central Tokyo in a show of respect to doctors and medical staff who have been at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
May 29
At the beginning of April, a young sumo wrestler known as Shobushi came down with a fever. His coaches tried calling a local public health center to get him a coronavirus test, but the phone lines were busy. (Japan Times)
May 29
NHK has learned that Tokyo Tower will reopen from Thursday, although most visitors will have to take the stairs instead of elevators to access the observation deck. (NHK)
May 29
Police investigators say the arsonist of a Kyoto Animation studio last year has told them that he had thought his attack had left only a couple of people dead. (NHK)
May 29
Nissan Motor has posted its first net loss in 11 years in the business year through March, amounting to more than 670 billion yen, or 6.2 billion dollars. (NHK)
May 28
Mobile phone data shows there was only a slight increase in the number of people around train stations and business streets in Tokyo and four other prefectures the day after the state of emergency was lifted. (NHK)
May 28
Japan's Diet has enacted legislation to tighten regulations on IT giants by requiring them to ensure transparency of their online business transactions with their business partners. (NHK)
May 28
Police in Kyoto, western Japan, have arrested a suspect in last year's deadly arson attack on Kyoto Animation's studio. They say the suspect has admitted that the allegations against him are true. (NHK)