Fans' horn ban restores harmony

YOUNG football fans who have been making too much noise with horns have been asked by the professional football association to 'exercise restraint' when cheering on their team. And because it is Japan, restraint will likely be exercised, and football here will be a quieter game from now on.

The new J-League professional football, which started in May this year, has become a big hit with young people in Japan. So far 1.5 million people have attended football matches, and sales of accessories - T-shirts, jerseys, caps, scarves, emblems and the noisy horns - have been booming.

But some residents living close to football stadiums have complained that the fans have become too rowdy and loud. Particularly aggrieved were people living close to the stadium of Nagoya Grampus Eight, the team Gary Lineker plays for. The stadium is in a residential district, and after many protests from householders sales of the blaring horns were stopped at the ground.

Compared to Britain, 'rowdy' Japanese fans look tame indeed. But in a land that values harmony above all else, the horns, which have three or four valves and emit a high- pitched whine, have been judged distinctly unharmonious.

From today the sale of horns will stop all over the country. 'The League has called for self-restraint,' said a spokesman. 'With the understanding of residents, we will develop a new sports culture. We can say that we have taken a step forward.' Fans could express their support in more peaceful ways, like hand-clapping and chanting.

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