Japan to check safety before Cup of China
Japanese figure-skating chiefs will send a fact-finding team to China to ensure it is safe for their stars to take part in the Cup of China next month, officials said on Friday.
The announcement comes after competitors last month pulled out of sporting events in both countries amid sometimes violent protests targeting Japanese interests in China.
The Japan Skating Federation has already said it will not take part in the Shanghai event, the third leg of the six-round Grand Prix series, unless the safety of Japanese competitors can be guaranteed.
Former women’s world champions Mao Asada and Miki Ando, and former men’s world champion Daisuke Takahashi, are among the Japanese lined up for the event.
Tokyo’s nationalisation of islands, which are also claimed by Beijing, sparked violent mass anti-Japan demonstrations in Chinese cities last month with Japanese nationals, businesses and diplomatic missions the focus of anger.
A federation official said the fact-finding team could be dispatched as early as next week.
“We have received assurances from the Chinese federation and the International Skating Union that they will take all possible measures to ensure the event goes ahead smoothly,” he said.
“We will check details such as access to the venue and the hotel together with officials from the host federation. We will see if it is necessary to boost security,” a federation spokeswoman said.