BEIJING – Japanese runners took part in the annual Beijing Marathon on Sunday after Chinese organizers threatened to prevent them from registering for the race because of the Senkakus dispute.
About 30,000 runners participated in the race, which began in Tiananmen Square in central Beijing and wound through Olympic park in the northern part of the capital. The Japanese runners were relieved by the organizers’ change of heart.
“At one point, I thought we would not be able to join the race. But I was pleased that China changed its stance,” said Keiko Takanashi, 51, who now resides in Beijing.
Earlier, the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Marathon had removed “Japan” from the list of eligible nationalities on its Web-based application form, prompting the Japanese Embassy in Beijing to lodge a protest. The race has been held annually since 1981.
The Senkaku Islands are controlled by Japan but claimed by both China and Taiwan.