Friday, 8 September 2017

Japan to face North Korea in Tokyo amid nuclear tensions

Japan will host North Korea in a politically charged East Asian championship opener on December 9, Japanese football officials said Friday.

The Tokyo clash comes against the backdrop of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and a string of missile tests — including one that flew over Japan — that have triggered condemnation from the Japanese government.

Japan, who last week secured their qualification for a sixth successive World Cup, will then face China on December 12 — the same day that North and South Korea face off in Tokyo in another game where emotions are likely to be running high.

The hosts round out the four-team tournament against South Korea on December 16 after North Korea square off against China, Pyongyang’s key ally, which has also been embroiled in the diplomatic tensions.

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