Japan

London 2012 chief feels Tokyo Olympics unlikely to go ahead

Keith Mills told BBC radio that the delayed Olympics, scheduled for July-August, were looking unlikely to happen in his opinion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, and thankfully I'm not, I would be making plans for a cancellation," he said.

"I'm sure they have plans for a cancellation but I think they will leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically and in case the vaccines roll out faster.

"It's a tough call and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes."

Snowstorm causes 130-car pile-up in Japan

The storm blanketed a stretch of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi prefecture at around noon on Tuesday.

Some 200 people have been caught up in the pile-up and rescuers were at the scene, officials said.

Japan has been hit by severe snowstorms in recent weeks with some parts of the country having double the average expected snowfall.

Authorities had already enforced a 50km speed limit on the road due to visibility.

There was a maximum wind speed of about 100km/h at the time of the incident, local weather officials said.

Japan Top League on hold

The competition had been due to start this weekend but with 10 positive tests at Kobe Steelers on Thursday taking the total to 67 league-wide, organisers said they were now aiming for a mid-February start.

Last year's season was cancelled entirely because of the pandemic.

"Japan Rugby Football Union and Top League have had discussions and we want to do everything we can to have this year's Top League season," said JRFU Chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi.

Japan finds new Covid-19 variant in travellers from Brazil

A ministry official said studies were underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases.

"At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness," Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told a health ministry briefing.

'Impossible': Tokyo residents concerned about hosting Games

The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the Olympics by a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The global sports showpiece is now slated to start in less than 200 days and run from July 23 to August 8.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated on Thursday his intention to hold the Games.

However, a December poll by public broadcaster NHK showed a third of Japanese residents want the Games to be scrapped due to fears an influx of foreign arrivals may cause a further spike in Covid-19 cases.

Tokyo Olympics to go ahead in 'safe and secure' manner despite Covid-19 surge

Tokyo reported 2,447 new cases on Thursday. This is a jump of 850 cases – just over 50 per cent – from the day before. Tokyo was reporting just a few hundred new cases a few months ago.

The rapid spread of the virus in Japan is imperilling plans for the postponed Olympics, which are to open on July 23. The Paralympics begin on August 24.

Hazelman becomes first Samoan living with disability to complete leadership programme in Japan

Hazelman is a representative of Nuanua o le Alofa, the national disability rights advocacy organisation in Samoa.

The Duskin Leadership Training Programme is designed for young persons with disability living in Asia and the Pacific, who have the willingness and the potential to become leaders in their communities.

Hazelman was a recipient of the training programme in 2019 and completed the course in July 2020.

He returned to Samoa on the repatriation flight of 2nd October 2020.

Fans now want Rugby Championship expansion

Having withdrawn from this season’s Australia-based competition due to concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, fears rose that that could spell an end to the four-team competition, with the Springboks favouring a potentially seismic move to the northern hemisphere and the Six Nations.

Those fears have obviously been allayed and after the news was announced by SANZAAR, there have now called for the Rugby Championship tournament to welcome new additions – with Japan and Fiji being the most discussed.

Lions to play Japan

The Lions will host the Brave Blossoms in Edinburgh next June ahead of their tour of South Africa.

It will mark just the third time the Lions have played on home soil following games in Cardiff against Argentina in 2005 and a Rest of the World XV in 1986.

"We saw Japan play some excellent rugby during the World Cup and they will come to Edinburgh fully-motivated to win," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph said it was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for the players.

The Lions play South Africa in three tests in July-August.

Another All Black off to Japan

The Hurricanes No 9 confirmed on Monday he had signed with the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes club for the 2021 season.

Perenara would reportedly travel with the All Blacks to Australia on Sunday and then depart for Japan at the completion of the abbreviated Rugby Championship.

The 28-year-old, who had recently welcomed his first child alongside wife Greer, said the contract didn't necessarily mean the end of his playing days in New Zealand.