On 13 December in Tokyo, Joseph S. Blatter had an audience with the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. The FIFA President took the opportunity to congratulate Mr. Fukuda, who was appointed Prime Minister in September 2007.
The two men, who were both born in 1936, exchanged their views about the beautiful game, the Prime Minister revealing that he played a great deal as a child. "Football is important for Japan and for aiding social development," he stressed, while recalling his support for the Japanese Football Association.
President Blatter, meanwhile, was keen to thank Japan for its formidable organisational skills, as exemplified at the annual FIFA Club World Cup, inaugurated in 2005, as well as the 2002 FIFA World Cup™. Also involved in the discussions were FIFA's General Secretary Jerome Valcke, Seishiro Eto, the chairman of the Japanese University Football Federation and Matsuhige Ohno, member of the House of Representatives. The meeting also touched informally on a potential bid by Japan to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA President then presented the Prime Minister with a medal and an official ball from this year's FIFA Club World Cup. Before departing to watch the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final between the Urawa Red Diamonds and AC Milan, Mr. Blatter wished Mr. Fukuda good luck in his role as Prime Minister.