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North Korean swimmers barred in Japan, boycott meet

9/14/2006

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.