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The Japanese World Cup organizing committee (JAWOC) and soccer’s world governing body FIFA will each sell half of the remaining unsold tickets for the upcoming first round World Cup matches in Japan, in the wake of a ticket fiasco that has left many empty seats here, JAWOC officials said Wednesday.

JAWOC will accept ticket reservations by phone, while FIFA will sell tickets online, the officials said.

Since the World Cup finals began Friday, tens of thousands of seats have sat empty at matches due to unsold tickets offered for sale overseas. South Korea, which is cohosting the World Cup with Japan, is facing a similar predicament.

Following Japan’s first game in this year’s World Cup on Tuesday night, JAWOC officials said nearly all the seats in the stadium were filled, but hundreds of frustrated fans remained after being denied a chance to attend Japan’s first match with Belgium at Saitama Stadium.

The Japan-Belgium game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Talks are still under way over how to handle tickets for games in the second round from June 15, the officials said, adding an agreement with FIFA has yet to be reached over ticket sales by phone for the second round.

Early Tuesday, JAWOC officials said the committee would sell tickets by phone for three matches — Russia-Tunisia, Germany-Ireland, and Cameroon-Saudi Arabia — for which available tickets sold out quickly.

Once tickets went on sale Tuesday, the Russia-Tunisia match sold out in about 90 minutes and the Germany-Ireland game in about 15 minutes, while the Cameroon-Saudi Arabia match sold out about half an hour after tickets went on sale Wednesday morning.

The finals, which will run until June 30, mark the first time the World Cup event has been held in Asia.

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