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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Japan hosts first World Cup match
Opening show in Seoul
The World Cup exploded with a spectacular show in Seoul
Japan has hosted its first ever World Cup match, with Cameroon and Ireland drawing 1-1 in the coastal city of Niigata.

Open Quote
We're working on the basic assumption that most fans are people of good will - we want them to enjoy their stay here and we don't want to scare them
Close Quote
Yasuo Nimi, Tokyo policeman

Cameroon's Patrick Mboma scored the first goal 39 minutes into the match. Ireland's Matthew Holland scored an equaliser in the second half.

Germany were due to play Saudi Arabia later in Sapporo.

In the tournament curtain-raiser in Seoul on Friday, Senegal stunned reigning champions and favourites France 1-0 thanks to a goal from Pape Bouba Diop.

But BBC Tokyo correspondent Charles Scanlon says that for many Japanese a shadow remains over the tournament, as there has been much alarmist talk of an invasion by foreign hooligans.

In contrast to South Korea, much of Japan has so far remained largely aloof from World Cup excitement.

Fears

European fans dressed in team colours and weaving an unsteady path from bar to bar draw puzzled looks in Tokyo.

Tokyo policemen
The Japanese police have been trying to reassure city residents
Such scenes are unheard of in the city, particularly on a weekday afternoon.

Many in Japan fear that hordes of foreign fans will inevitably bring trouble to the law-abiding country.

Concerns have been further fuelled by a warning from a local politician of mass rapes by foreign fans.

Japanese police have run special drills in anticipation of possible riots and have taken up positions in some areas in Tokyo to reassure local residents.

"We're working on the basic assumption that most fans are people of good will - we want them to enjoy their stay here and we don't want to scare them," Yasuo Nimi, policeman in charge of World Cup security, says.

"But once they violate the law - it's our duty to protect the public."

Most of the games are sold out, and our correspondent says that if Japan win a match or even progress to the second round, then even sedate Tokyo could go down with a dose of football mania.

Wild celebrations

Senegalese celebrate their team's win in Marseille, southern France
Senegalese fans were celebrating in style

The 1-0 victory by the unfancied Senegalese side, playing their first ever match in the World Cup finals, triggered wild celebrations and street parties across Senegal.

The Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, toured the capital Dakar in a triumphant motorcade before thousands of ecstatic people waving national flags of red, gold and green.

The stunning start to the tournament was an appropriate main course after the Koreans served up a dazzling opening ceremony costing $8m (5.5m).

Thirty-two teams are competing for the biggest prize in football, and security has been significantly stepped up following the 11 September attacks.


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BBC News' Dominic Hughes
"The buzz in the stadium is amazing"
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