On Wednesday, pictures of staunch supporters of the Japanese national football team cleaning up Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium after their win against Germany went viral on social media.
But this is not the first time the Japanese wouldn’t be leaving a single trace of dirt in a special event like the world cup.
They repeated the same at the World Cup in Russia four years ago, most notably after a 3-2 defeat by Belgium in the last 16, and again in the 2022 tournament opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday – a match their team wasn’t involved in.
Blue Samurai, fans of the Japanese team, distributed hundreds of rubbish bags and cleaned up rubbish during and after the match.
But why are the Japanese obsessed with being so clean?
Back in Japan, tourists are left awestruck at how clean the Asian country is. It is reported that there are no waste bins in public nor street sweepers because people are encouraged to take their garbage home where they’re disposed of properly.
Cleanliness is a part of the culture and is drilled into its people from early childhood
Right from primary school children are taught how to be clean. Cleaning up after football matches is just an extension of simple behaviours that are taught in school, where the children are made to clean their school classrooms and hallways.
In an Environment Performance Index (EPI) report published by Yale University, Japan is rated as the 12th most cleanest country in the world. Meanwhile, our beloved country Nigeria currently ranks 18th in the list of most polluted countries in the world, a report by dataphyte shows.
In Nigeria open defecation is at its peak and I bet that 5 meters away from your house is a pile of refuse dump. For how long shall we continue like this?
While we enjoy the thrills of the World Cup, we should also allow Japan to teach us how to be clean.