• Kyodo

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Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona on Tuesday picked up his entry visa to Japan from the Japanese Embassy in Cuba, Japanese diplomatic sources said.

Maradona, who is undergoing drug rehabilitation in Havana, has indicated that he wants to travel to Japan and South Korea during the World Cup finals.

The Japanese government turned down Maradona’s initial visa application on grounds he was a convicted drug user but later relented and approved his entry Friday after the Argentine government said it would send the soccer star to Japan as a tourism and sports envoy.

Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, had requested a visa to Japan to serve as a TV commentator for the World Cup finals, which Japan is cohosting with South Korea.

The South Korean government has also given him an entry visa.

Hooligans denied

OSAKA — Several British men have been refused entry into Japan at Kansai International Airport because their names are on a soccer hooligan watch list, Japanese officials said Wednesday.

Immigration staff barred the men after the National Police Agency found them on the list, which was provided by British authorities, they said.

The men arrived at the airport in Osaka Prefecture on a Singapore Airlines plane from Singapore via Bangkok. It is unclear when they tried to enter Japan.

Japanese and foreign police have been cooperating to ensure security for the World Cup finals, being cohosted by Japan and South Korea through June 30.

An England-Nigeria match was held Wednesday afternoon at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.

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