Japan to tell Blatter it is safe venue for football

AFP, Wednesday 18 May 2011

Japan will present their arguments to FIFA president that despite radioactive materials seeping from power plants after their quake it will be safe to host the games in December

Junji Ogura, head of the Japan Football Association, told local media Tuesday he will try to confirm that the money-spinning Club World Cup, which FIFA has yet to schedule officially, will be held in Japan in December in spite of the 11 March disaster.

"In his meetings with senior Japanese officials, I hope he will be assured that conditions allow hosting," Ogura told reporters.

The annual tournament, held in Japan four times before the United Arab Emirates took over hosting duties in 2009, pits the champion teams from all six continental confederations against one another.

Ogura said Blatter would discuss various aid programmes, including repairing stadiums with earthquake damage and a possible charity match to raise funds for reconstruction across the nation.

The JFA was unavailable to confirm Ogura's comments.

Many foreigners fled Japan after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake unleashed a tsunami which knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, sparking a nuclear emergency.

The power station has continued to release radioactive material into the environment, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate homes, farms and businesses in a 20-kilometre (12-mile) zone around the plant.

Officials hope to bring reactors to a stable cold shutdown by January at the latest.

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