Flags and banners to welcome professional baseball training camps
January 25, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
On January 24, a welcome ceremony for professional baseball spring training camps in Okinawa was held in the plaza in front of the Prefectural Government Office in Naha. Organized by the Okinawan Prefectural Government, the Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB), and the Okinawa Sports Convention Promotion Association, it featured an array of flags representing the ten Japanese and five Korean baseball clubs that will hold camps in Okinawa. The organizers made their expectations clear saying, “Let’s offer a good welcome as hosts and hope that this helps to promote tourism.”
Nine Japanese clubs, including the Chunichi Dragons, Hanshin Tigers, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles commence camps from February 1, and the Yomiuri Giants start from February 19. With regard to the Korean clubs, the LG Twins start from February 16 and four other clubs will follow on from mid-February.
About 200 people from the various hosting communities and those involved in tourism participated in the ceremony. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima gave a speech in which he said, “Many fans come from all over the country to watch the training camps. I hope that you all support the camps.” Invited guest Hiromichi Ishige, former manager of Orix Bluewave said, “The season for spring training camps starts in Okinawa. They play an important role for clubs and players. Please come to the stadiums and spend some quality time there with your families.”
President of the OCVB Shigenobu Asato said, “Let’s offer a sincere thank you and welcome the clubs and players” and then closed the ceremony with a traditional single clap.
Banners will be placed around Naha Airport and Kokusai Street until end of February to welcome those on the camps and to broadcast their presence to residents and tourists.
(English translation by T&CT, Shinako Oyakawa and Mark Ealey)
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