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07/20/08 2:35 PM ET

Matsui meets Japanese Boy Scouts

Astros second baseman signs autographs for visiting troop

HOUSTON -- Kazuo Matsui got a visit from some of his countrymen -- or boys -- on Sunday when seven Japanese Boy Scouts and two scout leaders attended a pregame meet-and-greet with the Astros second baseman.

The scouts, as part of the Houston-Chiba Scout Exchange Program, visited Minute Maid Park as part of a 10-day event that has existed between Houston and Chiba City, Japan, for the past 36 years.

In 2005, Houston-area scouts traveled to Japan, and the previous group of Chiba scouts was in Houston in 2004.

"I like it, because I get some power from the kids, and they get a good opportunity to come here and have some fun," said Matsui, who was born in Osaka and currently resides in Tokyo.

The scouts received autographs and posed for photos while talking with Matsui.

The Scout exchange program, which lasts about 10 days, also includes an outdoor camping program, sightseeing and welcoming and farewell ceremonies.

Krysten Oliphant is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.