Japan Rugby League One Logo
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Japan Rugby League One is a rugby union competition in Japan. It is the highest level of professional rugby competition in the country. The Japan Rugby Football Union created the competition in 2003, by absorbing the Japan Company Rugby Football Championship, to drive up the overall standard and popularity of the sport and improve the results of the Japan national rugby union team. The chief architect of the league was Hiroaki Shukuzawa who strongly felt the urgency of improving Japanese domestic company rugby to a professional level which would allow Japan to compete more convincingly at Rugby World Cups. Until 2022, it was an industrial league, where many players are employees of their company and the teams are all owned by major companies. While the competition is known for paying high salaries, only world-class foreign players and a small number of Japanese players play fully professionally, which means most of the players still play in an amateur capacity.