NASU, Tochigi -- A gray parrot at Nasu Animal Kingdom known for his precise predictions has picked Japan to beat Russia in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup on Sept. 20.
Olivia, 14, has been making World Cup predictions for 10 years by using his beak to grab the national flag of his chosen winner or for a draw. On Sept. 19, mini flags of Japan, Russia and for a draw were set up on a small artificial lawn ground.
Olivia walked toward the flags and appeared to waver in his judgment as he released one of the flags after grabbing it. Finally, the male bird tightly picked the Japanese national flag, evoking waves of applause from about 50 spectators.
Shinichi Murakami, 58, a resident of the northeastern Japan city of Sendai who observed the event, said, "I think Japan will win. I hope the team follows Olivia's prediction and gets a good result."
(Japanese original by Koji Shibata, Otawara Local Bureau)