Sports / Soccer

Japan to nod DPRK soccer team visit for Olympic qualifying games

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-24 09:54
TOKYO - Japanese top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that Japan will allow women's soccer team of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to enter the country for the Olympic qualifying games, despite bilateral tensions.

Suga told a press briefing that the decision was an "exception" due to international sports spirit, since his country last week has imposed a series of new sanctions and revived some lifted restrictions against the DPRK, including banning DPRK nationals from entering Japan, over its controversial nuclear bomb test last month and rocket launch earlier this month.

The DPRK's soccer team is expected to participate in the final Asian qualifying round for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games in Osaka and local reports said that the team is hoping to enter Japan by Thursday.

The games will kick off in Osaka next Monday in a six-team round-robin tournament, with Australia, China, Japan, DPRK, South Korea and Vietnam competing for two places at the 2016 Olympics. Japan will meet the DPRK on March 9.
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