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Veteran Alpine skier Kiminobu Kimura will replace ski-jumper Kazuyoshi Funaki and head the Japanese delegation as captain at the upcoming Winter Asian Games in Aomori Prefecture, organizers said late Saturday.

The 32-year-old Kimura was selected in lieu of the double gold medal winner at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, who declined the offer due to schedule conflicts with his events at the Feb. 1-8 Games.

Kimura, a native of Aomori Prefecture, has taken part in four consecutive Winter Olympics.

Also, the Japanese Olympic Committee will officially name the flag-bearer, expected to be Olympic bronze medal speedskater Tomomi Okazaki, after its meeting Wednesday.

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