Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Sunday received an award from World Rugby for his contributions to the sport and role in Japan's successful bid to host next year's World Cup.
Mori, who serves as the honorary chairman of the Japan Rugby Football Union, was named the recipient of the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service by the sport's world governing body at an award ceremony in Monte Carlo.
"I'm very honored and moved. I've wanted to devote my life to working for rugby, and I'm very glad I have been able to do that," said Mori, 81, also the head of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee.
As the president of the JRFU, Mori played a central role in Japan's bid to host the 2019 World Cup, the first staging of the tournament in Asia. He assumed the role of JRFU president from 2005 to 2015.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said Mori has also contributed to rugby's development in Asia.
Mori became the first Japanese recipient of the award, given to those who have contributed to spreading or developing the sport.
Ireland, scheduled to face Japan in the pool stage at the World Cup next year, dominated the major awards.
Ireland were named the team of the year, with skipper Joe Schmidt receiving the coach award and Johnny Sexton winning the men's 15s player award.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 will be held from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2 in 12 cities stretching from the northern main island of Hokkaido to the southern main island of Kyushu.