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  1. ITV Report

Japan Rugby World Cup gives Kamaishi new hope

  • Video report by ITV News Asia correspondent Debi Edward

There will only be two World Cup group games at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium during Japan 2019 but they could be the most significant of the tournament.

In 2011 the city suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami, causing a flood and the death of 1,250 residents, while ruining 3,000 homes.

After the trauma of 2011, rugby has been a focal point of the hope and rebuilding, which saw the stadium built in preparation for this autumn's tournament.

The water ruined homes in 2011. Credit: PA

Namibia will play Canada and Fiji take on Uruguay at the stadium which can hold 16,187. They are not the most glamorous games but they will mean the world to an area with a proud rugby heritage.

"We stood together, made a goal and recovered, now we have a goal to host the Rugby World Cup," former Japanese international Yoshihiko Sakuraba told ITV News.

Japan in action at the new stadium in Kamaishi. Credit: PA

There reminders of the hell the city went through in 2011 throughout Kamaishi but the streets are also paved with adverts for the upcoming World Cup.

"We learned that like a rugby match even if we fall we have to get up and together aim for the goal," local player Gen Maekawa explains.

The stadium represents the city's recovery and provides a positive lasting legacy to one of Japan's darkest days.