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Japan may be ready to host a "spectacular Rugby World Cup," but serious questions remained Tuesday as to what impact it will have on the nation, particularly with the Tokyo Olympics just a year away.
A day after 15,300 people watched an open training session by Wales in Kitakyushu, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont lauded Japanese fans for the welcome they have shown teams arriving for the tournament.
"Japan has comprehensively proven that it will be the best of hosts, welcoming the world's best players and 400,000 international visitors with open and welcoming arms," Beaumount said. "The welcome that the teams have received has been nothing other than magnificent, truly special."
The former England lock went on to say that "never has a tournament been so eagerly anticipated and never has a host nation been so excited to embrace our sport."
With 96 percent of the 1.8 million tickets sold, local organizing committee president Fujio Mitarai said the hosts were on track to fulfill their goal of having all 48 games played in front of "completely full stadiums."