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Coca-Cola-only request for kids watching Tokyo Olympic soccer draws criticism

Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, where soccer matches at the Tokyo Olympics will be played, is seen. (Mainichi)

KASHIMA, Ibaraki -- A municipal school's calls for guardians to ensure their children only take Coca-Cola drinks to Olympic soccer games at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium has prompted a flood of complaints to this east Japan city's government.

    Only local elementary and junior high school students will be able to attend soccer matches at the stadium during the Tokyo Games beginning July 23.

    The Kashima Municipal Board of Education said one municipal school distributed handouts dated July 15 that requested: "Please ensure any plastic-bottled drinks brought are Coca-Cola products."

    Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games members visited the venue on July 9. The school's notice reportedly came after a committee representative told school employees, including teachers: "Bringing plastic bottles other than Coca-Cola's is banned. Remove the labels if they are from other companies."

    According to Coca-Cola Japan's website, The Coca-Cola Company is a "Worldwide Olympic Partner," the highest sponsorship rank at the Tokyo Olympics.

    The municipal government was inundated with complaints after the school notice was shared on social media including Twitter. The municipal education board said regarding the notice, "It was a misleading expression," and that it only asked schools to remove labels.

    (Japanese original by Takashi Miyazaki, Mito Bureau)

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