• Kyodo

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North Korea is pulling out from a synchronized swimming competition in Japan to protest Tokyo’s refusal to let some of its delegation into the country, North Korea’s swimming association said in a statement carried by the official media on Thursday.

The group “received from the Japan organizing committee a note to the effect that some members of the team were not allowed to enter Japan just a few days before their expected departure for Japan,” an association spokesman was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency.

“This compelled the association to cancel its plan to send the DPRK team to the event,” the spokesman said in a statement dated Wednesday.

Japanese organizers of the Synchronized Swimming World Cup 2006 in Yokohama said Thursday they have been formally informed of North Korea’s decision.

The three who were refused visas were the heads of the athletes’ delegation, a manager and an interpreter. The ministry only said judgment was made “from a comprehensive viewpoint.”

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