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   20 May, 2002 | 1500 IST


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Cameras to spot trouble in Japan

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Japanese authorities in the northern city of Sapporo, host to the potentially explosive England-Argentina World Cup clash next month, are installing a network of surveillance cameras to spot troublemakers.

City officials said on Monday that just over 200 of the high-tech cameras would be set up throughout Sapporo, including at the railway station and the stadium, ahead of the May 31 to June 30 tournament being co-hosted with South Korea.

Real-time video taken by the cameras will be transmitted through the Internet to the city's security department for round-the-clock monitoring from May 25 to June 10, the officials said.

"We have no way of knowing what's going to happen. Therefore, we decided to use surveillance cameras to gather accurate information on a real-time basis," said a Sapporo city official.

Residents of Sapporo, some 800 km (500 miles) north of Tokyo on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, are nervously awaiting the June 7 match between arch-enemies Argentina and England, whose fans have a reputation for violence.

Sapporo is also the venue for the Germany-Saudi Arabia match on June 1 and Italy-Ecuador on June 3.

Nervous about hooligans, Japanese police are renting a ferry boat to ship hooligans from Sapporo to Tokyo before deporting them. Local police say about 7,000 officers will be mobilised in Hokkaido during the finals.

About 6,000 to 8,000 England fans are expected to make the long and expensive journey east, a fraction of the number that travelled to France for the 1998 World Cup.

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