FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter started the week by welcoming a Japanese Football Association delegation headed by JFA President Motoaki Inukai to Zurich.
The JFA made the courtesy visit to remind world football's governing body of its interest in hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Accompanying Mr Inukai were Suminori Gokoh, the chief director of Japan's 2018/2022 bid, Yasuhisa Okuda, the secretary to the President of JFA, and Kunji Matsuda, General Manager of the JFA's Communications Department.
"Japan is still in the process of developing its sporting culture," said Mr Inukai during the visit. "We would like to harness the FIFA World Cup, the biggest sporting event on the planet, to help us in this respect as it can have a major impact on getting people involved in sport. Only football can do that."
After posing in front of the coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy, the members of the JFA delegation departed for home to start work on the next phase in the process: the submission of the signed bid agreement, the deadline for which is 11 December 2009.
Blatter, who is visiting Japan next week on other business, expressed his delight at being able to welcome the JFA representatives to the Home of FIFA. "FIFA would like to thank the Japanese FA for its interest in organisation the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. This bid, along with all the others that we have received, is a sign of recognition for the tournament."