Japanese Lawmaker Lauds Team For Losing In Order To Avoid Abduction In North Korea

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

When Japan went to Pyongyang to play North Korea in a World Cup qualifier a few weeks back, we told you about the constraints placed on any Japanese fan brave enough to travel behind the shroud of secrecy. No banners, no flags, no drums, no cheering; the North Koreans were not going to stand for any of it, with the tensions between the two nations at a fever pitch. Tensions are so high, in fact, that Japanese lawmakers think the Blue Samurai lost on purpose to avoid being abducted by the DPR baddies.

“I presume that, if Japan won by 2-0 or 3-0, our players themselves would have been abducted,” conservative opposition lawmaker Tetsushi Sakamoto told a lower house committee on Monday, according to Japanese media.

“The lion’s share of the credit should go to manager Zac (Zaccheroni) as he let the team lose by 1-0,” Sakamoto said.

“Judging from the way he used the players, I presume he was resolutely prepared for a draw or defeat by the narrowest of margins.”

That’s right: Sakamoto praised Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni for directing his team in such a way that they lost by just a goal, because it appeared to Sakamoto that the Japanese team would have been abducted by North Korean officials had Japan played to their full abilities.

Because Japan totally could have thrashed those shady jerks if they wanted to.

This is the exact opposite of soccer diplomacy.

The Japanese government, perhaps because Sakamoto so sufficiently smacked North Korea down with his statements, chose not to file a protest with Pyongyang over the treatment of Japan’s players. Upon landing in North Korea, Japanese players were held up for four hours by immigration and customs officials for laughing and possessing contraband like…bananas, chewing gum, and instant noodles.

The particular parliamentary committee at which Sakamota made his remarks was addressing North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals through the 70s and 80s, hence the heightened tension.

Although the government won’t be filing an official protest over treatment of the Japanese team, the Japanese Football Association is pursuing action in regards to the treatment of fans and players via letters sent to the North Korean FA. I expect those letters will elicit a perfectly polite response, complete with sound reasoning as to why North Korea gave the Japanese such rude treatment.

That, or someone in the North Korean FA has some fancy new toilet paper.

Source: Dawn.com

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