Boxing champ’s lecture canceled

Kyodo

Student organizers said Friday they have canceled a speaking engagement by Masamori Tokuyama, the reigning World Boxing Council super flyweight champion, at their university fair for security reasons.

The fair organizing committee at Kwansei Gakuin University said it decided at the last minute to call off the lecture in light of sensitivity over the North Korean abduction issue, which would make it hard to deal with problems if they occur.

Tokuyama, 28, is a North Korean resident of Japan.

There has been growing anti-North Korean sentiment in Japan, with people being harassed after Pyongyang admitted abducting Japanese nationals in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Tokuyama, whose Korean name is Hong Chang Su, has also shut down his Web site since North Korean leader Kim Jong Il made the admission during a summit with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Sept. 17.

Tokuyama has reportedly expressed regret over the cancellation, saying he had wished to share the story of his success with the students.

His presentation was scheduled for Sunday at the university’s campus in the Hyogo Prefecture city of Sanda. Organizers made the request for him to speak in July.

North Korea said eight of the Japanese it abducted are dead. Five surviving abductees are currently in Japan, visiting their homeland for the first time since being kidnapped more than two decades ago.