Tateshi Higuchi offered a ceremonial kick of a soccer ball from the sidelines in front of an estimated 10,000 spectators to begin a quarterfinal match of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, featuring F.C. Tokyo against Vegalta Sendai, at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu City, Tokyo.
Legislation that went into effect on October 1 of last year prohibits business transactions between ordinary citizens and members of organized crime, such as the paying mikajimeryo (protection money). The law is in effect nationwide.
In February, a declaration signed by J-League chairman Kazumi Ohigashi formally indicated that “anti-social forces,” or organized crime syndicates, are banned from associating with the league’s clubs, players, and referees.