S.League cares, TAKE ACTION with Albirex Niigata Singapore
Press Conference, the main points. 27 March, Sunday, 2011
Mr. Zainudin Nordin – Mayor Central Singapore District and President of Football Association of Singapore
Mr. Zulkifli Baharuddin – Co-Chairman of S.League Cares Fundraising Committee
Mr. Daisuke Korenaga – Co-Chairman of S.League Cares Fundraising
Committee and Chairman of Albirex Niigata (S)
Mr. Lim Theam Poh – Director of Operations, Singapore Red Cross
Mr. Hidetoshi Nakata – Former Japanese National Team player,
Representative Director of TAKE ACTION Foundation
Question & Answer Session
Journalist: Mr Nakata, Can you tell us the state of sporting activities in Japan right now?
Nakata: To be honest, I was outside Japan when the disaster happened. Actually I went back to Japan just a few days ago and then I came here. So I don’t know much about the situation.
But as far as I know, most sports such as football and baseball postpone their matches. However, all the sportsman and players are trying to organise some fund raising activities and charity matches. There are a couple of charity matches organised by some teams and by the Japan Football Association.
Journalist: How many countries are you travelling to to raise funds?
Nakata: Well, I have just started. I may plan to travel to Europe and the United States.
Journalist: What is your personal target for this Charity Event in Singapore? How has the disaster affected you?
Nakata: As I have said before, it is not just about the fund raising, although it is very important. I can’t just ask people to donate money as I don’t have much time to prepare for my condition. So I cannot make very hard tackle but I try to entertain people which is very important for me and for the people. Because this is not just about donation, it is about sharing for a good cause. This is my aim and target.
The disaster affected my schedule and my live as I have never experienced such a big disaster before. I don’t know what is going to happen to me and what I can do in the future. But I think about what I can do, not just for the emergency response but in 1 or 2 years or even 10 years to help the people.
Journalist: In Taiwan, you offered a pair of boots and 2 jerseys for auction. What will you be offering for auction in Singapore?
Nakata: I don’t know what people want (laughter from audience). Maybe I can offer a few things, anything that can attract people.
Journalist: What about Calvin Klein underwear?
Nakata: You can buy it easily.
Journalist: Mr Nakata, do you have any message for the people who want to help but not being able to do so?
Nakata: I think it is not difficult to do something, just do whatever you feel like to. Just gather a few people, get their friends and do something. You don’t need to donate big money, just give some small money, or call your friends, anything you can do is very important. Don’t think, just do it, this is very important.
For example, just ask your friends around, even very small donation, send your stuff to the NGOs. Maybe you can do something locally in Singapore for someone and that someone can help the Japan Disaster.
Charity is not only about raising money or doing something for free, it is also about connection. If you do something, you connect to people, and also to the world. This is very important, don’t do it for one time, keep doing it.
Journalist: Are you staying in Singapore for the whole of this week? Are you planning to do something else besides the Gala Dinner and the Charity Match?
Nakata: My schedule is really difficult to understand, even for myself (laughter from audience). Because everyday something happen and when they (managing company) take a phone call, I may fly immediately over to somewhere for an event. I don’t know what’s going to happen the next day but I try to train a little bit for good performance.
I think I don’t need to rush to do everything at one time. This disaster recovery will take a long time, so we have to divide our schedule properly so we can help the people in Japan not only this month, but also next month, and plan something for next year, the following year as well.
I think that in Singapore this time, doing the gala dinner and the charity match, I believe this is the beginning. We like to have a relationship next year as well. Probably you can speak to the gentlemen beside me (laughter from audience).
Journalist: Mr Nakata, where were you when the earthquake happen? When did you decide to something? Is this your first charity project?
Nakata: When the disaster happened, I was in Hong Kong attending a Charity Gala. By the time the disaster struck, all my flights were cancelled. The situation in Japan is getting worse and worse, and I thought it is not possible for me to go back to Japan to do something. Thus, it maybe better for me to do something outside Japan, easier to decide and act faster.
Then, I went to China and attended a TV Premiere in Taiwan, doing some fund raising. At the same time, I was talking to other people to do something, probably in Malaysia, and Singapore as well.
Personally, this is my first charity project and I hope it is not the last one.
Journalist: Mr Korenaga, how did you manage to contact and get Mr Nakata to come to Singapore so fast? Are you a personal friend of his?
Korenaga: We had a council meeting on 14 Mar and decided to do something for Japan. 2 days later, I just call Mr Nakata and he replied he will consider and said Ok. That’s all, very quick response from him.
Journalist: Mr Nakata, do you personally have any friends or family affected by this disaster?
Nakata: My family and all my friends are all ok.
Journalist: In the long term, like your former teammate, Vincenzo Montella who is caretaker coach in Roma, do you want to manage a Serie A club or coach the national team?
Nakata: I don’t think so.
Nakata: I prefer to play.
End of Press Conference