Japan warns followers to not go to North Korea for World Cup qualifier

North Korea' Japan football asian Games

FILE–North Korea’s gamers enter the stadium earlier than the lads’s quarterfinal soccer match between North Korea and Japan in the course of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Video games in Hangzhou, in China’s jap Zhejiang province on October 1, 2023. (Picture by Philip FONG / AFP)

Japan has warned soccer followers to not try and journey to “hostile” North Korea for subsequent week’s World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang.

The Tokyo overseas ministry “strongly requests most of the people to chorus” from attending the match on March 26, the primary for the 2 sides in North Korea since 2011.

“As you already know, North Korea takes a hostile view of Japan and journey just isn’t really useful for most of the people,” it stated on X, previously Twitter.

READ: Japan-North Korea World Cup game to stay in Pyongyang

Japan and North Korea play in Tokyo on Thursday as a part of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, earlier than the return fixture subsequent week.

Japan’s long-standing recommendation for its nationals is to not journey to North Korea however it doesn’t expressly forbid them from doing so. The 2 nations wouldn’t have diplomatic relations.

It was unclear what number of followers, if any, would attempt to journey. They would want a North Korean visa to take action.

READ: Japan beats North Korea for Asian Games women’s football gold

Fourteen authorities officers will, nevertheless, accompany the Japan staff for the match in addition to a small variety of media retailers, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

The primary leg of their ladies’s playoff for the Paris Olympics was switched from the North Korean capital to impartial floor in Saudi Arabia final month.

Relations have lengthy been dogged by points together with compensation for Japan’s brutal occupation of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945 and extra not too long ago by Pyongyang’s firing of missiles over Japanese territory.

The kidnapping by North Korean brokers of Japanese residents within the Seventies and Eighties — compelled to coach spies in Japanese language and customs — has additionally lengthy been a significant level of rivalry.

Thursday’s match in Tokyo was anticipated to see a sizeable contingent of North Korean supporters from amongst Japan’s long-standing ethnic Korean neighborhood of about 300,000 individuals.

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Most are descendants of civilians taken from their houses throughout Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula.

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