23 September 2012

Japan considers Cup of China pullout

Bad news for all figure skating fans: Japan and China are caught up in an escalating political crisis over a disputed group of uninhabited islands and Japan's figure skaters will pull out of next month's Cup of China in Shanghai unless given safety guarantees.

"The safety of the athletes is the most important thing," JSF president Seiko Hashimoto told reporters after a meeting to discuss Japan's participation in the November 2-4 competition. "If they acknowledge this we will make every effort to send a team."

The Japan team includes Mao Asada, Miki Ando and Daisuke Takahashi.

"If the situation remains the same a week or 10 days before the event then we will have no choice but to pull out," Hashimoto said.

China withdrew its badminton players from last week's Japan Open. Japan pulled out of the second leg of the Asian Sevens Series in Shanghai over security fears, while a Japanese cycling team were booted out of a race in China.

Tempers are flaring, some protests turned violent and the relations between Asia's two biggest economies have continued to deteriorate.

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