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July 10, 2014

JICA Scores an International Relations Win with World Cup Public Viewings
International football watching parties in Yokohama and elsewhere create a mood of friendship

As World Cup fever took hold this summer, the Japan International Cooperation Agency turned the competitive event into a chance to deepen Japan's friendship with other countries, specifically those of Africa. JICA held public viewings and other events all over Japan in concert with the tournament.

The largest such event was at the Yokohama International Center. On the morning of June 15, when Japan played its first opponent, Côte d'Ivoire, and many people in Japan were wearing samurai blue, JICA Yokohama was decked out in orange, the team color of Côte d'Ivoire.

JICA Yokohama held a public viewing to boost relations and mutual understanding between Japan on the one hand, and Côte d'Ivoire and Africa on the other. In attendance were some 40 Africans who live in Japan, some of them Ivoirians. Including members of the media and participants from JICA and Sony, which provided the audio-video equipment, there were 360 people present.

The event theme was "Dare to Unite Japan and Africa!" It was co-sponsored by the Embassy of Côte d'Ivoire in Japan.

Participants were asked in advance to cheer and smile regardless of which team won and Japanese participants even were encouraged to wear not samurai blue, but orange. Many did, they cheered warmly for the Côte d'Ivoire team and a mood of friendship was created. Côte d'Ivoire won the match 2-1, but it was a victory for Japanese-African relations as well.

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