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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 04:22 GMT 05:22 UK
Floating jail for football thugs
Sunflower Tomakomai
The Sunflower is renamed 'Good Ship Hooligan'
The World Cup's Japanese hosts have hired a ferry to serve as a temporary prison for hooligans.

It has been reported that the authorities particularly fear the behaviour of English fans and it is thought the Sunflower Tomakomai has been hired with them in mind.

The ship, which normally ferries lorries from Tokyo to Hokkaido, has been nicknamed locally the Fuurigan Maru or the Good Ship Hooligan, reports the Times.

It is very expensive but we think we will need it at least two or three times

Japanese minister

It will be on stand-by off the island Hokkaido and could take up to 630 people on a 20-hour voyage to a detention centre in Ushiku, a suburb of Tokyo.

The fans would be processed there, although they could be held first for 27 days under Japanese law without being charged.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Koichi Yamasaki told the Times: "It is very expensive but we think we will need it at least two or three times.


"English hooligans will be locked into cabins on board, some may even be put in the hold, and taken to a detention centre."

Some 7,000 police are expected to be on duty for the match between Argentina and England on the evening of Friday 7 June.

Police are particularly concerned about this fixture because the two teams are old rivals and the late kick-off will mean fans will have been drinking all day in the run up.

It will be England's second match in group F after their opening fixture this Sunday against Sweden in Saitama, just outside Tokyo.

Kevin Miles, spokesman for the Football Association, told the Times the plan was "over-zealous".


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