Beijing marathon bars Japanese amid island row: report

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TOKYO: Organisers of the Beijing marathon have barred Japanese runners from taking part due to safety concerns after a fresh flare-up in a territorial dispute between Japan and China, a report said Saturday.

 

“If they choose other nationalities including China, Japanese can take  part,” the influential newspaper Asahi Shimbun’s online edition quoted a source  at the organising committee of the November 25 marathon as saying.
 
The committee made the decision by taking into consideration the safety of  athletes, the daily said in a report from the Chinese capital.
 
Japanese companies such as Canon had sponsored the annual event until last  year but they are not sponsoring it this year.
 
Already 26,000 people have signed up for the marathon since its  registration process began on Thursday, Asahi said.
 
Japan was included in the nationality section in the marathon’s online  registration page until last year but has been deleted this year, it added.
 
In Beijing, officials from the organising committee were not immediately  available to comment on the report.
 
Tokyo’s nationalisation of islands that are at the centre of a territorial  row with Beijing sparked violent mass anti-Japan demonstrations in Chinese  cities in September. Japanese nationals, businesses and diplomatic missions  were targeted.
 
Japanese and Chinese athletes have since pulled out of several sporting  events in both countries due to safety concerns.
 
But Japanese figure skating stars took part without any incident in the Cup  of China Grand Prix event in Shanghai last week as they were escorted by  bodyguards and Chinese-speaking coordinators. -- AFP

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