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North Korean sports minister allowed into Japan for Olympic meetings

North Korean sports minister allowed into Japan for Olympic meetings



As part of sanctions imposed for Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, North Koreans are usually banned from entering Japan.

North Korean sports minister Kim Il Guk will be allowed to travel to Japan to attend Olympic meetings which get underway tomorrow, the Japanese government announced on Tuesday. North Koreans are usually banned from entering Japan as part of the sanctions imposed in 2016 for Pyongyang’s nuclear tests. The countries have no diplomatic ties.

Kim, who also serves as the president of North Korea’s Olympic Committee, is scheduled to attend the two-day general assembly meeting of the Association of National Sports Committees in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.

“International sports and the Olympics charter share this notion of no discrimination against any nationalities,” Suga said. “On the basis of that, it is an exception that we have allowed minister Kim Il Guk, who is planning on coming to this week’s general assembly. We have allowed him to enter the country as an exception.”

There are no plans for any Japanese minister to hold talks with Kim, Suga added.

Sporting waiving of the ban

This is not the first time Japan as waived the traveling ban on North Koreans in the name of sport. In February 2017, North Korean athletes and officials were allowed into Japan for the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo.

Back in April, International Olympic Committee’s President Thomas Bach said that North Korea would take part in the two upcoming Olympic Games, Japan 2020 and China 2022.


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