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Japan targets tourism, not beer in Cong Vinh deal

Japan targets tourism, not beer in Cong Vinh deal

Monday, November 18, 2013, 14:30 GMT+7

By hiring Vietnamese football star Cong Vinh to play in the northern city of Sapporo, Japan is not attempting to promote their famous beer, but rather promote tourism and culture.

Many Vietnamese people believe otherwise, but Tuoi Tre has evidence to prove this after visiting the nation.

Sapporo is the capital of the Hokkaido Province, 830km north of Tokyo. It is a land endowed with beautiful natural landscapes, with snow five months a year and friendly people. Japan plans to develop it even more to attract more international tourists. It currently receives 800,000 tourists a year.

The travel spot is less popular with Vietnamese than with citizens from Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

It’s not about the beer

Mr. Hirokatsu Mikami, managing director of Consadole Sapporo FC, confirmed, “Sapporo beer is not the sponsor of this club, please don’t misunderstand it.”

So, who is the main sponsor of Consadole Sapporo? It is Ishiya, an enterprise specializing in producing white chocolate, a famous product of Japan.

The training ground of Consadole Sapporo FC is located next to one of Ishiya’s plants. Cong Vinh trains there every day.

Therefore, ‘Consadole Sapporo FC’ is named after the home city of the club, not the beer, just like Vietnamese football clubs Hanoi T&T and Saigon Xuan Thanh.

Ms. Bui Thanh Van, who has been living in Japan for 11 years and has never missed one of Cong Vinh’s games with Consadole Sapporo, said, “I don’t understand why many people claim that Cong Vinh is coming here to promote beer. It’s definitely incorrect.”

The love for Vietnam

Cong Vinh told Tuoi Tre that he is surprised by the support of Japanese fans for him and for Vietnam during games he played.

He admitted that he trains harder because of the sentiment. Recently, Cong Vinh has been offered an extension to his contract for two more years.

Cong Vinh may not be the best player on the team; Consadole Sapporo FC now has ten qualified strikers, many of them coming from Brazil.

However, during a match of Cong Vinh against Vissel Kobe in the 40,000 seat Sapporo Dom, one of the stadiums that hosted 2002 World Cup games in Japan, a reporter from Tuoi Tre noticed several Vietnamese flags and banners with the name of “Cong Vinh” held by cheering fans.

Tuoi Tre

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