Japanese World Cup player boosts Japan nuclear workers’ morale

Added by on July 14, 2011

Karina Maruyama

The Japanese women’s team won 3-1 over Sweden on Wednesday.

A substitute player on the Japanese women’s soccer team that led her country to its first-ever World Cup semi-final has the support of workers struggling to bring the Japanese nuclear crisis under control.

Karina Maruyama worked at Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) from 2005 to 2009 and played on team Mareese, which was sponsored by her employer at the time. Maruyama became a national heroine after scoring an extra-time goal against defending champion Germany on Saturday. Her goal gave Japan a 1-0 win over Germany.

Among her supporters’ praise and gratitude a message from a former colleague, who is now working at the infamous Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, stood out. The message “…said that the goal renewed our will to work and strive together. I cried as I read it”, said Maruyama in an interview with the Chunichi Shimbun Daily.

Maruyama wrote on her blog, “Everybody in Japan, who cheered me on from various places and under various circumstances, gave power to the national team and helped me score the goal. I am filled with gratitude.”

After the win over Germany, Japan went on to face Sweden beating them 3-1.

With the win over Sweden, Japan advances to the finals against the United States on Sunday July 17.

Update: Japan won 3-1 over the United States in a penalty shootout victory.