• Kyodo

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With pro baseball’s Hanshin Tigers looking as if they might win the Central League pennant this season, Osaka Gov. Fusae Ota has revealed a plan to clean up the Dotombori River, which local sports fans have a habit of jumping into when their favorite team wins.

“People shouldn’t jump in, but this is a good opportunity to clean the river bottom and improve the water quality,” Ota told a news conference earlier this week, referring in particular to the section of the river at Ebisu bridge, a popular gathering spot in Osaka’s Minami district.

“By the time (the team) clinches the victory, we want everyone throughout the nation to see the district’s healthy atmosphere and clean water,” the governor said.

Concerning the economic impact of pennant wins by local teams — the CL’s Tigers or the Pacific League’s Kintetsu Buffaloes — Ota said, “They say a Tigers victory is worth 100 billion yen, and if Kintetsu also wins, then it will be 150 billion yen.”

She said the prefecture and the city of Osaka should split the cost of the cleanup project.

In April, management responsibility for the Dotombori River was transferred from the prefectural government to the municipal government.

Many sports fans jumped into the river from Ebisu bridge and nearby areas in 1985, when Hanshin won the Japan Series, and again last summer when the Japanese national team fared well during the World Cup soccer finals, jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea.

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