North Korea is unable to host Japan!

Tokyo (AFP)

The fate of the Japan-North Korea match scheduled for next week, as part of the dual Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Football Cup, is up in the air, after Pyongyang expressed its inability to host it.
The head of the Japanese Federation said that North Korean Federation officials informed him during the confrontation that brought the two countries together in the third round of the second round of the qualifiers, which ended with a 1-0 victory for Japan, that the match scheduled for the fourth round could not be held in Pyongyang, as scheduled.
Kozo Tashima said in Tokyo that the North Korean side “told us that the match on Tuesday could not be held in Pyongyang. They asked us during the first half if we could organize the next match in Japan.”
He continued, according to what local media reported, “I told them that the matter is happening suddenly, and I cannot give them immediate approval.”
He added, “I told them that we would need two to three days to inform them of our answer. I told them that it was difficult.”
The two countries have not faced off in North Korea since 2011.
Tashima did not explain the reasons behind the North Korean request, but the Japanese Kyodo Agency indicated that North Korea would not allow the match to be held on its soil; Due to concerns about the outbreak of a bacterial infection in Japan.
Earlier this week, Japan’s Foreign Ministry warned fans against trying to travel to North Korea to attend the match.
The ministry said on its account on the “X” website (formerly Twitter): “The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly requests that the general public refrain” from attending the match scheduled for March 26.
Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) reported that 14 government officials will accompany the Japanese team in the match, in addition to a small number of media.
The women’s national team match between the two teams qualifying for the Paris Olympics was moved from the North Korean capital to neutral territory in Saudi Arabia last month, at the request of the Japanese Federation to its Asian counterpart, due to the lack of transparency regarding operational matters and the scarcity of flights.

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