13,000 Japanese volunteers from across the nation are this week preparing for the arrival of rugby fans from all over the world.
The record-number of volunteers, known as “Team No-Side”, will assist tourists and fans around the venues as well as at nearby transport points, while some will have the chance to work for VIPs such as government, business and popular culture figures from around the world.
More than 400,000 visitors are expected to arrive for the games which begin on the September 20th and run through until the November 2nd. The games are being held in 12 cities across the nation including Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.
In the initial recruitment drive, over 38,000 people applied for the 10,000 positions, attracting applications from people from all over Japan – of all genders and generations. 13,000 candidates were eventually selected for the roles and have been training in the 12 centres around the country since.
The roles are completely unpaid and with no expenses covered, however many view it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and of great importance to Japan. The event is the first major rugby tournament to be held in Asia, and the Japanese are bound by a sense of pride and duty to showing off their nation’s best side.
Akira Shimazu, the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organizing Committee CEO, is banking on Team No-Side to help make the tournament a success.
“I want them to present the tournament together as the face of the historic first World Cup held in Asia, and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Shimazu.
This is the first of many more important events to come to Japan, with the Summer Olympics and Paralympics returning to Tokyo next year!
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Main Image: Tokyo, Nicholas Cole, Flickr Creative Commons
By Sofi Pickering