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2014年6月14日 (土)

W杯開幕 祭典がもたらす熱狂と不満

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Soccer World Cup opens in Brazil amid excitement and discontent
W杯開幕 祭典がもたらす熱狂と不満

The soccer World Cup finals kicked off Thursday in Brazil. We look forward to enjoying the quadrennial celebration of sport where 32 teams put their national pride on the line.

The football spectacle is returning to Brazil for the first time in 64 years. The people of Brazil, one of the world’s true soccer powerhouses, are seen holding high expectations for their team to reclaim the FIFA World Cup Trophy, which they’ve claimed five times before.

For Brazil, one of the most prominent emerging economies, the World Cup finals, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, are a golden opportunity to demonstrate the country’s energy and power to the world.

In reality, though, preparations for the event have been walking a tightrope over delays in stadium construction.

At the same time, discontent among the people has erupted against the government that has laid out huge investments—more than $11 billion (about ¥1.13 trillion)—to host the extravaganza. The disgruntled populace has mounted frequent protests in urban areas, calling for the government to “spend money on medical service and education rather than the World Cup.”

The country’s middle-class haven’t been feeling abundance in their lives as the pace of economic growth has slowed and inflation has been persistent, and they have begun asking the government to reexamine its welfare policies.

That some people in Brazil, a country so well known for its avid soccer fans, have raised such objections to hosting the World Cup could come as a great blow to the Brazilian government.

Safety steps amid protests

During the World Cup finals, which are scheduled to run through July 14, security authorities will reportedly mobilize a total of 177,000 members of the military and police, among others, to prevent radical demonstrators from bearing down on soccer stadiums.

But even the police who are supposed to provide security are threatening to leave their posts to strike during this crucial period, in solidarity with subway employees and other workers. This possibility is a serious concern.

We hope the Brazilian government will take every possible measure to ensure that matches are played without incident, enabling supporters from around the world to enjoy them safely.

Of particular concern is Recife, the northeastern city where Japan’s group stage opener will be played, and an area notorious for an extremely poor record of public safety. Supporters from Japan need to act with caution, and avoid dangerous areas.

This is the fifth time that Japan has reached the World Cup finals stage. Soccer watchers are eager to see whether the Japanese national team, “Samurai Blue,” will be able to reach the quarterfinals, outdoing their previous best at the round of 16.

The makeup of the Japanese team has changed greatly and it is no longer a rarity for Japanese players to transfer to foreign teams.

When Japan made it to the World Cup finals for the first time in 1998 in France, not a single player on the national team was playing with an overseas club. Four years ago, at the time of the World Cup held in South Africa, four Japanese team members were playing internationally.

This time, international players account for 12 of the 23-man squad. But will the players who drive Japan’s domestic J.League and the players from world-class European clubs be able to join hands and surprise the world with outstanding performances? Even from the opposite side of the planet, we’re proud to root for Samurai Blue.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 13, 2014)


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« 中国の軍事挑発 「有事準備」に警戒が怠れない | トップページ | 公明党と憲法―自民にただ屈するのか »