7 Feb 2012

Japan want new stadium for Rugby World Cup

6:05 am on 7 February 2012

Tokyo's iconic National Stadium is poised to receive a billion dollar renovation, turning it into a space-age venue with moving seats for the 2019 rugby World Cup.

Japan will host rugby's showcase tournament a year before the 2020 Olympics, which Tokyo has bid for again after losing out in the running for 2016.

If successful with its tender, the new-look National Stadium, located close to Tokyo's bustling centre, would double up as the main stadium for the rugby World Cup and Olympics.

The Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) chairman Tatsuzo Yabe told Reuters he's in talks with the stadium owners and Tokyo government about the venue, which he hopes will have seating for 80,000 to 100,000 people.

Yabe says plans would include retractable seating, similar to the revolutionary Sapporo Dome, the hi-tech jewel in Japan's crown at the 2002 football World Cup with a 'floating' pitch.

Tokyo's National Stadium was built for the 1964 Olympics, the first to be held in Asia.