Messi meets a group of youngsters affected by the tsunami in Japan in 2011

The boys and girls belong to football clubs from the Japanese province of Iwate, one of the areas most affected by the disaster

This morning at the Camp Nou, Leo Messi met with thirty Japanese youngsters who belong to different football clubs in Japan. They come from the province of Iwate, a coastal area that was one of the most devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north of the country in March 2011. They are between 9 and 15 years old, and they were all seriously affected by the disaster. They have come to Barcelona accompanied by their coaches and various translators, and were invited by the FC Barcelona Foundation and the Leo Messi Foundation to participate in various activities at the Club’s installations, due to their interest in football and particularly Barça.

The meeting was held at the Foundation Room at the anteroom of the Camp Nou, just before training this morning. The 24 boys and 11 girls who participated sang a Japanese folk song for Messi. They also presented him with a 'meotobashi’, a pair of Japanese chopsticks, and when Messi admitted that he didn’t know how to use them, one of the kids gave him a demonstration.

The kids especially enjoyed the moment when Messi signed the special shirts which carry the FC Barcelona Foundation and Leo Messi Foundation logos, and when he greeted them all and posed with them for photographs.

The group has more activities scheduled during these days. On Tuesday they visited the Camp Nou Experience, and played a friendly football match against the Infant C team. The youngsters will also watch this Wednesday's game against Celta, and on Thursday they’ll take part in a clinic run by coaches from the FCBEscola.