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Congratulatory Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Japanese National Team of the 2006 World Baseball Classic

I congratulate the Japanese national team on winning the world championship at the 2006 World Baseball Classic (WBC), making it the first in history to win this title.

Like many people, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time as I cheered for the Japanese national team in the semifinals and the final in front of the television.

I am proud of the performance demonstrated by the Japanese national team, led by manager Sadaharu Oh, which beat the superpower Cuban national team and has risen to world champion. This great achievement resulted from the team not giving in to its chain of defeats earlier in the tournament and advancing to the final on the strength of its strong teamwork.

I have every hope that the players will continue with their excellent work for the baseball fans around the world.

March 22, 2006
Prime Minister of Japan
Junichiro Koizumi