Yoshiro Mori has announced a surprise resignation as honorary chairman of the Japan Rugby Football Union, officials said on Thursday. File photo/ AFP
Yoshiro Mori announced his surprise resignation as honorary chairman of the Japan Rugby Football Union, officials said on Thursday, just months before the country hosts the World Cup.
But the 81-year-old former prime minister will remain as president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
Mori, who played a key part in bringing Asia’s first Rugby World Cup to Japan, made the announcement after a JRFU board meeting on Wednesday, and said it was partially due to health concerns after suffering several bouts of surgery because of cancer.
“Mr Mori expressed his intention to resign because of his age and condition as well as his job at the Olympics and Paralympics,” a JRFU spokesman told AFP, adding that his replacement has not been decided.
“But his resignation won’t affect our hosting of the World Cup,” which kicks off in September, the spokesman stressed.
“Mr Mori has said he will continue supporting the World Cup but expressed hope that young people should take the initiative in pushing for the sport,” the spokesman said.
Mori has reportedly said Japan “desperately needs a vision” for the sport post-World Cup, following news that the country will lose its Super Rugby franchise after 2020.
The Tokyo-based Sunwolves were introduced in 2016 to bring rugby to new markets but organisers of the southern hemisphere’s elite club competition decided last month to kick them out after 2020, sparking concerns about the sport’s growth prospects in Asia.
Mori previously served as JRFU chairman for 10 years until 2015 when he was replaced by Masaru Okamura, former head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce. Mori had since served as honorary chairman.
Mori, who became prime minister in 2000 and retired from politics in 2012, has been heavily involved in promoting sports in Japan.
The approach of the Women’s World Cup and the growing popularity of women's football is putting a greater focus on disparities experienced by its players worldwide.
Japan will for the first time next month lift an evacuation order in one of two towns where the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is located, officials said on Tuesday.
She is Modhi Al Ali, a young Emirati girl who has become part of Manchester City FC’s global campaign to get more women playing football.
Trophies and personal souvenirs belonging to German tennis star Boris Becker will be auctioned online from Monday by British firm Wyles Hardy to partially clear the bankrupt champion's debts.
Mexico beat Martinique 3-2 on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as winners of Group A ahead of Canada. The Canadians advanced with a 7-0 romp over winless Cuba
Manchester: Trent Boult said he hoped proud fans back at home would enjoy “diving into their poached eggs” after holding the decisive catch that saw New Zealand beat the West Indies by just five runs in a World Cup thriller. New Zealand lost both their openers for ducks to be 7-2 before Kane Williamson’s career-best 148 -- the captain’s successive hundred
Le Castellet: Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead and continued his relentless run of success when he scorched to an emphatic victory ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the French Grand Prix on Sunday. The defending five-time champion repeated his pole-to-flag triumph of 2018 with a flawless drive to his fourth win in succession,