• Kyodo

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Two officials from North Korea’s Winter Asian Games delegation are on their way home ahead of schedule, sources close to the delegation said Wednesday, denying initial speculation about the officials’ “disappearance.”

Speed skating team official Kim Yong Nam and ice hockey team staffer Kim Sang Man left Aomori Prefecture for Tokyo on Tuesday and are due to leave for their country via China on Thursday.

According to sources close to the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun), a pro-Pyongyang group, the North Korean delegation notified the organizing committee of both officials’ departure from Aomori after they left for Tokyo.

The North Korean officials initially had hoped for a trip to Tokyo after the games to buy sporting goods, but their request was turned down by the organizing committee, the sources said.

They instead decided to go shopping in Beijing by leaving Aomori earlier than planned, they said.

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