• Kyodo News

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Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Wednesday promoted Japan’s ability to host the 2022 soccer World Cup to a team of executives of sport’s world governing body FIFA.

Kan made the pitch when he received a courtesy call from the executives and had dinner with them. The executives have been in Japan since Monday to inspect stadiums and other facilities, according to government officials.

Earlier in the day, the FIFA team checked Saitama Stadium 2002, one of the planned game locations, accompanied by Japan Football Association President Motoaki Inukai.

“We were told that it is a wonderful stadium,” Inukai told reporters.

A Japanese committee trying to bring the 2022 World Cup will make its second presentation Thursday to the team, headed by Chile Football Federation President Harold Mayne-Nicholls.

The FIFA team’s trip to Japan is its first stop on a two-month tour to inspect nine candidates vying for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup finals.

Both the 2018 and 2022 hosts will be determined at a FIFA executive committee meeting on Dec. 2.

In 2002, Japan cohosted the World Cup finals with South Korea. The Saitama stadium was built for that event.

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