The All Blacks could face another Rugby World Cup final against Australia should the 2019 tournament play out according to the seedings.
Ireland go into Pool A as the top seed but did lose to Scotland during the recent Six Nations.
The pool of death for England once again, although closer inspection suggests that this won't be as tough as meeting Australia and Wales in 2015.
Ireland will be favourites to win Pool A as they set about trying to improve a World Cup record that has never seen them progress beyond the quarter-finals.
Eddie Jones' men will be in the same group as France and Argentina for the 2019 tournament in Japan.
England crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage in 2015 following defeats by Wales and Australia, resulting in the dismissal of Jones' predecessor, Stuart Lancaster.
Reigning champions New Zealand face South Africa and Italy in Pool B with head coach Steve Hansen insisting there are a number of credible challengers to the All Blacks' crown.
England became the worst-performing hosts in World Cup history in 2015 by failing to qualify from their pool containing Wales and Australia.
South Africa's slump to seventh in the world rankings means they face the All Blacks for the first time in the pool stage of a World Cup but the Springboks will fancy their chances of getting past Italy and going through.More news: Nigeria identifies 82 freed Chibok girls; parents await word
Band Five: Oceania 2, Americas 2, play-off victor (between Europe 2 and Oceania 3), repechage victor.
It will be the fifth World Cup with 20 teams divided into four pools of five teams.
Alternatively, if Ireland finish second, they will face the winners of Pool B.
"It's simple - you've got to prepare well at the World Cup".
When asked about France, Jones said: "They've really improved over the last two years and they're certainly a risky team".
Townsend said: "Japan obviously made a memorable impact at the World Cup two years ago, beating South Africa, and will have tremendous support going into the tournament".
Abe added: "Soon the Rugby World Cup will bring bring the greatest rugby players in the world to Japan.it will be the flawless chance to showcase this sport to the rest of Asia, which holds over half the world's population". "But now there's some certainty around it, we can start our planning and we're really looking forward to it".
England, France and Argentina, together with the Americas 1 and Oceania 2 qualifiers form part of Pool C, which is already being called the "pool of death".