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Japan's national rugby team to be certified Tier 1

Brave Blossoms to host a Lions Tour exhibition next year

Japanese rugby is riding a wave of momentum that began when the country hosted last year's World Cup. Now the national team is moving into the sport's top tier.

TOKYO -- World Rugby, the sport's governing body, has decided to certify Japan as a Tier 1 country, making it the first Asian nation to ascend to the sport's top echelon, Nikkei has learned.

The decision comes days after Sir Bill Beaumont was reelected as World Rugby's chairman. Beaumont was in a tight race to keep his job against Agustin Pichot, and according to sources, he won Japan Rugby Football Union's backing with a promise to promote the national team to Tier 1.

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