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Rugby: Prince Akishino to assume honorary presidency of RWC 2019

This photo taken on May 24, 2018 shows Japanese Prince Akishino, Emperor Akihito's younger son, delivering a speech in Kagoshima Prefecture. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prince Akishino, Emperor Akihito's younger son, will assume the honorary presidency of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, a source close to the matter said Saturday.

The organizing committee will discuss it on Monday, the source said.

The prince will be first in line to the throne on May 1 when his elder brother, Crown Prince Naruhito, ascends the throne after their father abdicates the previous day. Prince Akishino is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup and watch the opening match between Japan and Russia in Tokyo on Sept. 20 next year.

The Japanese imperial family has close ties with rugby, with some members having served as president or honorary president of the Japan Rugby Football Union.

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