Has there ever been a bigger season for Japan's Top League?
newsonjapan.com -- Feb 22
The 2020 Top League season got off to a strange start as it began in the winter instead of its usual start time in the autumn.

Indeed, there was a strange feeling around the grounds as the action got underway in frosty stadiums up and down the country, but it soon became apparent that the quality of rugby on show would thaw out the winter chill.

Indeed, the 2020 Japanese Top League is the biggest in the history of the competition and a golden opportunity to keep the public's interest in rugby alive after hosting a World Cup that was a rip-roaring success. This is why the start of the domestic season would be so crucial to ensuring that the attention of a captivated audience was held – and it seems to have succeeded.

Five of the eight games on the opening weekend finished within 10 points of each other and that included a humdinger of an encounter between the Yamaha Jubilo and the Toyota Verblitz. which amazingly ended up 31-29 to the former. With such engrossing games taking place up and down the Land of the Rising Sun, you can feel confident that rugby in Japan will indeed take a leap to the next level.

World rugby will certainly be better off for it after we got a glimpse of what a World Cup is like with a strong Japanese side playing in it. The Brave Blossoms eventually exited at the quarter-final stage at the powerful hands of the mighty Springboks but not before they claimed huge scalps in Scotland and Ireland. The incredible run that they went on set the stage perfectly for this domestic season and now the country's domestic elite are making sure that they don't drop the baton.

Along with having some extremely talented players coming through the youth ranks in Japan, the recruitment of the teams in the league has shown us two things. For starters, there is a burning ambition among the owners of these teams to make this a league that is worth watching and secondly,  the Top League does have a pull that is able to attract the world's best players.

Any league that has Damien de Allende and Kieran Read in is worth taking note of and the signs indicate that more and more of the top rugby union performers will make their way to Japanese shores over the coming years. 

As for the direction of Japanese rugby and the national team over the next ten years, they seem to have thrown all their eggs in one basket just to pursue the dream of getting to the top of the summit of rugby union. This has come at the cost of rugby league and anyone looking at the rugby league betting for the 2021 World Cup will see that the Japanese do not feature at all. This suggests that all the resources are going to be pumped into making the Brave Blossoms serious contenders for the 2023 rugby union World Cup in France.

Success, though, starts at home and the powers that be of Japanese rugby know just as much. 

Rugby enthusiasts around the world should be treated to an extremely high standard during the playing of the 2020 Top League, and that should result in Japan arriving in France in three years' time as one of the best teams at the tournament.

News source: newsonjapan.com
Apr 03
Now that the schedule of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is decided, local organizers have finally started rearranging their preparations at full speed following the games' postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo)
Mar 31
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has announced the new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Games were postponed until next year due to the global coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Mar 30
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee will likely support the idea of delaying the Games to July of next year. (NHK)
Mar 24
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed Tuesday to postpone this summer's Tokyo Olympics for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Japanese leader said. (NHK)
Mar 24
The International Olympic Committee is initiating talks with organizers as well as the governments of Tokyo and Japan on how to handle the Tokyo Games, including a possible postponement. (NHK)
Mar 24
Japan is an interesting place if you are looking to place a wager. (newsonjapan.com)
Mar 23
The Tokyo Olympics are going to happen — but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned. (Japan Today)
Mar 23
The International Olympic Committee says it will begin discussions on how the Tokyo Games should be handled, including their possible postponement during the global coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Mar 22
Hakuho seized a record-extending 44th top-level championship Sunday after outlasting fellow yokozuna Kakuryu at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. (Japan Today)
Mar 21
The Olympic flame for the Tokyo 2020 Games has arrived in Japan from Greece. (NHK)