KAMAISHI, Iwate Prefecture (CelebrityAccess) — Japan’s Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, the only newly-built of the 12 venues that will host the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year, officially opened its doors this week.
The 6,000-capacity stadium debuted with a memorial match between the local Kamaishi Seawaves Rugby Football Club and Top League side Yamaha Júbilo.
The match was the culmination of a weekend of rugby-themed events marking a turnaround for the City of Kamaishi.
The Earthquake of 2011 and the tsunami that followed brought considerable devastation and loss of life to Kamaishi and the surrounding area. A port town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Kamaishi bore the full force of the tsunami as it came ashore in the northeast of Japan.
Throughout the area, 30 percent of homes were either damaged or destroyed, 60 percent of businesses were completely inundated, and 98 percent of the local fishing fleet was wiped out.
Built on the former site of the local Elementary and Junior High Schools, construction of the stadium began in April 2017. It has a permanent capacity for 6,000 spectators, however, during next year’s tournament, 10,000 additional temporary seats will be added, bringing the total capacity of the stadium to 16,000 for the two Rugby World Cup matches.
The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium will host Fiji versus Uruguay in Pool D on September 25th, 2019, followed by the Pool B match on October 13th between Namibia, who secured their place at Rugby World Cup 2019 yesterday, and the winner of the repechage tournament, which will take place in November in Marseille, France.
Rugby World Cup 2019 will be the first time the tournament will be held in Asia.