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Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Soccer philanthropist Nakata signs on for exhibition match
Former soccer star Hidetoshi Nakata announced Tuesday he will play in an exhibition match in Yokohama on June 7 as part of his Plus One campaign to spur people to think about what they can do to make the world a better place.
The match at Nissan Stadium will pit the so-called World Stars team led by former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho against the Japan Stars team headed by Kunishige Kamamoto, vice president of the Japan Football Association.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo, Nakata, who retired from professional soccer after playing for Japan in the 2006 World Cup, explained the impetus for his Plus One campaign.
"While traveling around (the world) the past two years, I've seen and experienced many things, including some fun and some difficult situations," he said. "I realized how big soccer is and how widely it is played even if people don't speak the same language. You can build relations through soccer."
A feature of the Plus One campaign is to encourage people to write down and declare even a single thing they can do to better the world. The project runs until the Tanabata Festival on July 7. By tradition, on this day Japanese people write down a wish on a small piece of paper and hang it from a bamboo tree.
Forms and more information are available at www.takeaction2008.com.