Japan 2012 kicks off with special guests
© LOC

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 will officially kick off at Miyagi Stadium on 19 August with the opening ceremony to be held at 19.00 prior to Japan's match against Mexico.

The opening ceremony will begin with traditional performances of the Tohoku region - a region severely damaged by the earthquake last March - in order to express gratitude to the world for their immediate and continuous support.

“Suzume Odori”, a dynamic local Sendai dance passed down from the 17th century, will theatrically launch the beginning of the performance. A traditional Tohoku band, consisting of Tsugaru Shamisen musicians and Japanese drummers, especially formed for this ceremony will follow creating electrifying music symbolising recovery. The ten minute opening ceremony will conclude with approximately 100 local boys and girls raising the flags of the participating nations and a large symbol flag.

The festivities, featuring many local performers, will reflect Japan’s firm confident step towards recovery, and underline several meanings of the tournament slogan “Hope Leads”.

Special guests
The surprises will continue later in the day. At half-time of the Japan v Mexico game fans will have the joy of seeing three of the Japanese women’s football heroes. Right after the half-time whistle the silver medallist coach Norio Sasaki, together with the Nadeshiko players Aya Miyama, who is also a tournament ambassador, and Miho Fukumoto, will be celebrated in Miyagi stadium.