North Korean swimmers barred in Japan, boycott meet

Updated: September 14, 2006, 3:09 AM ET
Reuters

TOKYO -- North Korea has pulled out of the synchronized swimming World Cup competition in Japan after Tokyo barred three team members from entering the country as part of sanctions imposed after Pyongyang test-fired missiles in July.

While 10 swimmers and coaches were allowed into Japan, three including the team's captain were refused entry on suspicion they were linked to the government, said an official from the sports arm of Chosen Soren, a group representing North Koreans in Japan. As part of sanctions against North Korea after its missile tests, Japan barred entry of government officials from the communist state.

Japan also banned for six months the entry of a passenger ferry, the only direct passenger link between the two countries and the main route for hand-carried hard currency to reach impoverished North Korea.

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