• Kyodo

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Miyagi Gov. Shiro Asano criticized the World Cup ticketing agent Wednesday over some 700 unoccupied seats at the second-round match between Japan and Turkey.

“We’ll consider actions to take to hold Byrom accountable after discussing the issue with JAWOC (Japan World Cup organizing committee),” he said.

At Tuesday’s match, in which Japan was eliminated from the tournament in a 1-0 defeat, blocks of seats were empty behind the end line near the pitch at Miyagi Stadium.

JAWOC has faulted the British company for the empty seats, saying it had mistakenly designated the seats as “killed,” or unfit for sale due to poor sight lines.

JAWOC officials said Tuesday they had been told that match tickets offered online through the company were sold out.

“Byrom, which ignored the feelings of ticket seekers, is impotent and irresponsible,” Asano said.

Byrom PLC, which is tasked with selling tickets abroad for the World Cup finals being held in Japan and South Korea, has been blamed for confusion that has led to large blocks of seats going unsold at a number of matches.

Soccer fans arrested

OSAKA — Police arrested 11 Japanese soccer fans Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning for causing a commotion near the Dotonbori River in Osaka, following Japan’s defeat in the second round of the World Cup soccer finals.

The arrests, allegedly for obstructing police or indecent exposure, came as about 3,000 youths started gathering near the Ebisubashi Bridge at 6 p.m. to set off fireworks and cheer for the team despite Japan’s loss.

The commotion subsided at one point, but a skirmish broke out after police clashed with a mob of youths who tried to prevent them from taking one of them — who was wearing only underpants — away for voluntary questioning, police said.

Following the incident, some youths tossed fireworks and other items into a nearby police post. The ruckus did not die down until 5:30 a.m., they said.

Osaka Prefectural Police said about 920 people dived into the river from the Ebisubashi Bridge and other bridges. Police had deployed about 4,000 officers to provide security in central Osaka and worked to control access to the bridge after the game.

Jumping into the Dotonbori River is a traditional celebration after big victories by the Hanshin Tigers, the local professional baseball team. Japanese soccer fans took the plunge for the first time after Japan’s first-ever World Cup victory on June 9 against Russia.

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