Tuesday, November 15, 2011

North Korea vs Japan 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS - ASIA 12BET Hot Tip 11/15 3PM GMT+8

Historic rivalry as Japan heads to NKorea

Four of the North Korean players, including star striker Jong Tae Se, were born into ethnic Korean communities in Japan, and bitterness still runs deep over Japan's 35-year occupation of Korea, which ended in 1945.

More than six decades later, Tokyo and Pyongyang still do not have diplomatic ties. The last time the Japanese men played on North Korean soil was in 1989, when North Korea won 2-0.Since then, relations have deteriorated: Japan has pressed North Korea to address the past abductions of Japanese citizens, and after North Korea fired ballistic missiles capable of reaching Japan's shores and tested a nuclear device in 2006, Japan joined the United States and other nations in imposing economic sanctions on North Korea as punishment.

Those sanctions have cut off much-needed sources of aid at a time when 6 million North Koreans — a quarter of the population — are going hungry, according to the World Food Program. Japan is also party to the stalled talks that would bring fuel aid to Pyongyang in exchange for an agreement to discontinue its nuclear program. The North Koreans walked away from those discussions two years ago, but efforts are now under way to get them back on track.

More than 200 Japanese citizens, including 150 fans and two dozen journalists, were expected to travel to Pyongyang for Tuesday's game — the largest Japanese delegation in years. As a precaution, Tokyo has sent a team of Japanese diplomats to North Korea to watch over them.The fans have been warned to behave: No sightseeing, no straying from the group. No drums, speakers, banners or Japanese flags, according to Nishitetsu Travel, which is organizing the three-day, $3,740 tour for the Japanese Football Association.



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