Fukushima to seek donations for refurbishing J-Village soccer training center

The Fukushima prefectural government announced on Aug. 19 that it will seek donations from companies and organizations at home and abroad to finance the reconstruction and refurbishment of the J-Village national soccer training center. J-Village straddles the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Naraha and Hirono near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori and other officials are scheduled to make a pitch for the fundraising blitz at a press conference scheduled for Aug. 29 in Tokyo. It will be an unusual attempt for the prefectural government to solicit donations as a main source of financing for facility improvement. Funds donated will be used to build all-weather soccer training fields within J-Village as part of efforts to encourage national teams to use the center as their training camp for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The project is estimated to cost about 2.2 billion yen. Of the total, 1.5 billion yen is expected to be provided as a subsidy from the Sports Promotion Lottery (“toto”) operated by the Japan Sport Council affiliated with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Fukushima is seeking to cover the remaining 700 million yen with donations. Officials scheduled to attend the upcoming press conference include Kozo Tajima, president of the Japan Football Association; Tadashi Okamura, president of the Japan Rugby Football Union; Asako Takakura (who hails from Fukushima city), manager of the Nadeshiko Japan national women’s soccer team; Hitoshi Ono (hailing from Koriyama city in the prefecture), a member of the Japanese national men's rugby union squad; and Homare Sawa, a former member of Nadeshiko Japan. (Translated by Kyodo News)