Sepp Blatter says it’s safe to hold the Club World Cup in Japan as scheduled later this year.
Blatter was in Tokyo on Monday to meet with Japanese football officials, who assured the FIFA president that Japan can stage the Dec. 8-18 tournament despite concerns about high radiation levels following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
”We are confident Japan can organize this competition,” Blatter told a news conference. ”We look forward with confidence and optimism that this tournament will be a good one.”
Japan Football Association president Junji Ogura assured Blatter that safety won’t be a concern.
Several international sporting events, including figure skating’s world championships, were canceled after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant 150 miles (241 kilometers) north of Tokyo.
Leaking radiation has prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents near the plant, and the struggle to contain the reactors is expected to continue into next year.
Japan previously held the tournament, which brings together the champions from FIFA’s six confederations, from 2005 to 2008. The last two tournaments have been hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
Blatter also met with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan earlier Monday during his one-day visit to Tokyo.