Japan

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.

Tonga and Japan discuss sports and rugby assistance for Tonga

After raising ¥1, 150, 000 (USD11,073) from a direct appeal to residents of Kochi Prefecture to fund the purchase of rugby balls for rugby development in Tonga, the Embassy was informed that the donation of 200 rugby balls will be provided and intended for the outer islands in Tonga.

Joining the meeting was  Sinali Latu, President of the Tonga Japan Community, and Intern Yukino Saigo, the community said on its social media platform.

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.

Tonga online business seminar celebrates 50 years of diplomacy with Japan

The business community will get the opportunity to discuss the relationship between the two countries as well as future challenges after Covid-19.

In 2020, the Tongan economy suffered double impact from Cyclone Harold in April and the global pandemic Covid-19.

“The distribution of people and goods is currently interrupted and economic damage continues to be severe. PIC would like to hold a seminar as part of the project to support Tonga and help expand the business,” PIC said in a statement.

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.

Typhoon Haishen: 200,000 ordered to evacuate as Japan braces for storm

Typhoon Haishen is expected to intensify on Sunday, bringing heavy rain, storm surges and winds of more than 160kmh.

It will move past Kyushu on Sunday, and is expected make landfall in South Korea on Monday.

It comes days after Typhoon Maysak, one of the strongest storms to hit the region in years.

The latest typhoon has led to the closure of factories, schools and businesses across western Japan. Hundreds of flights and train services have also been cancelled.

Japan's government will be holding an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to address the storm.