World Rugby has advised the 20 teams contesting the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as supporters attending the event, that they need to cover up any tattoo markings in public places for fear of causing offence - as such body markings are associated with the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.

An education programme, which also highlights the need to wear different footwear indoors from outdoors, is already underway.

"We will make (Japanese) people aware around the facilities that players will use in the country that people with tattoos in a Rugby World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia," said Alan Gilpin, the Head of the Rugby World Cup.

"That's where the issue comes from. We have done a lot in the last year or so with the teams to get them to understand that.

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"When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago we were probably expecting a frustrated reaction from them but there hasn't been at all. That is a great tribute to the sport itself and to the rugby players themselves.

"They all also buy into the idea of putting on a rash-vest in the pool or in a gym as they want to respect the Japanese culture. If they are using a public pool they will have to cover up.

"Players will also have to wear different trainers indoors and outdoors. It will all be self-policing. We won't force any teams to cover up but they will want to because they want to be seen to be respecting the culture.

"Whether it is Scotland, Ireland, Wales or Italy, who have all been there recently, they all get it, they really do."