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The Good News about the 2002 World Cup

The World Cup will benefit not only its multinational corporate sponsors ("World Cup follies," Cover Story, Apr. 1). The kickoff, on May 31, also coincides with the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day. WHO and FIFA have worked hard to ensure that the World Cup is tobacco-free: There are no tobacco sponsors. Game venues will be smoke-free. And players and coaches can serve as advocates for healthy, tobacco-free living.

In addition, the World Cup will send a powerful health message to the "youthful following" of billions that you describe. It will build on other Tobacco-Free Sports campaigns, including that of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, demonstrating that no sport mixes with tobacco. In Japan and Korea, where more than 60% of men smoke, this tobacco-free message could help prevent millions of premature deaths.

Derek Yach

Executive Director

World Health Organization


Your cover story could mislead readers about relations between Korean and Japan, the two co-hosts of the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals. The story neglects the steadily expanding friendship and cooperation between Korea and Japan. The two neighbors have already designated 2002 as the "Year of Korea-Japan Exchanges" and are actively promoting cooperation in the cultural, tourism, academic, and sports fields.

In addition to the Korea-Japan summit last October, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid an official visit to Korea on Mar. 21-23 at the invitation of President Kim Dae Jung. The two leaders discussed in detail various ways to co-host the World Cup successfully, including close cooperation in anti-terrorism measures. They also agreed to support various events to bring the two peoples closer together and deepen their friendship.

World Cup 2002 is the first global soccer festival in the 21st century and the first ever in Asia. Both Korea and Japan are doing their best to make it a success. Two separate organizing committees were necessary to prepare for hosting the World Cup. I can assure you that the two committees are maintaining very close cooperative relations. Some differences of views and preferences are natural when preparing an event of this magnitude. But they are being solved by the great amount of goodwill and sincerity existing between our two peoples. Let us hope that this global festival of football lovers will be safe and enjoyable.

Lee Yum

Consulate General

Republic of Korea

Hong Kong I mainly agree with John Rossant's commentary "The fast fall of France's celebrity CEOs" (European Business, Apr. 1), but France T?l?com's Michel Bon should not be compared to the three others. LVMH's Bernard Arnault and Fran?ois Pinault are working (at least have been beginning to compete) with their own money, and Vivendi Universal's Jean-Marie Messier with "very few people know whose money." France T?l?com remains a nearly state-owned quasi-monopolistic company in France.

And if it is true that L'Or?al Group is a splendid company, I remember one of Lindsay Owen-Jones's statements when he started his job was, "I do need `killers' in my executive teams."

Out of the spotlight, there are many "valuable assets" within the cohort of French managers. Showing heads without bodies, as you do in your photographs, is not in the best of taste--in the country where Mr. Guillotin's machine was designed. No mischievous thoughts in the back of your mind? Just tell me: No! Of course not.

Michel Laissus

Gentilly, France

Editor's note: No, of course not. I was delighted to read Robert Barro's column about the protectionist policies American Big Steel has successfully lobbied for ("Big steel doesn't need any more propping up," Economic Viewpoint, Apr. 1). In my own country, notoriously inept local enterprises, steel or otherwise, rant and rave with charges of "dumping," raising the specter of massive layoffs, etc., whenever imports--usually of obviously better quality--are sold at (naturally) lower prices. For the life of me, I never could see why it was such an awful thing.

Manuel Tomacruz Jr.

Makati City, Philippines

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