Japan have confirmed they will rival England, South Africa and Italy for the right to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
All four unions will travel to Dublin on May 13 to present their cases to the International Rugby Board.
South Africa, Italy and Japan are also pitching for the 2019 World Cup. A decision on the host unions for both events will be confirmed by the IRB on July 28 after a specially convened council meeting.
With a Deloitte report estimating total economic benefits to the host country of £2.1billion, all four unions have received central government backing.
Japan are aiming to become the first union outside of the RBS 6 Nations or SANZAR to host the World Cup, now considered the world’s third biggest sporting event.
Nobby Mashimo, Japan Rugby Football Union chairman, said: “This is a special bid as it is a bid for rugby in Asia.
“With the support of our friends from all 26 unions in the region, and the backing of the Japanese government and business community, we believe that we can deliver a Rugby World Cup that will capture the hearts and minds of people and provide the platform to take rugby to new levels in Asia.”
England last hosted the World Cup in 1991 and while they rejected a home unions bid proposed by Scotland and Ireland, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium would be used in 2015 alongside football stadia such as Wembley and Old Trafford.
A South African Rugby World Cup final would be played at the new 90,000-capacity Soccer City in Johannesburg.
“South Africa in this day and age is set up to host the very biggest global sporting events and we believe we would offer rugby an unrivalled showcase for the game,” said union president Oregon Hoskins.