• Kyodo


The Sapporo District Court will put off criminal trials scheduled for early June when the city will host games in the World Cup soccer finals, as prosecutors expect to be too busy dealing with hooligan arrests, court officials said Thursday.

The Hokkaido court asked for the cooperation of judges with a request by the Sapporo District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“At this moment, we have not heard whether any other court has taken a similar step,” an official at the Supreme Court said.

Sapporo is hosting matches in the first round of the finals, which will be cohosted by Japan and South Korea from May 31 through June 30.

The city will host the Germany-Saudi Arabia game June 1, followed by the Italy-Ecuador match June 3 and the England-Argentina contest June 7.

Prosecutors said they fear hooligan arrests could run into the hundreds.

The district prosecutor’s office only has some 20 employees, including personnel in charge of court proceedings.

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