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Hatoyama congratulates Mao for earning silver medal

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Friday the whole nation should celebrate figure skater Mao Asada’s silver-winning performance at the Vancouver Olympics.

“It’s wonderful that she won the silver medal, given that (newly crowned Olympic champion) Kim Yu Na performed extremely well,” Hatoyama told reporters at his office.

“Figure skating is the most closely watched sport in the Winter Olympics. I’m sure people around the country had high expectations of her. I really want to congratulate her on her achievement,” he said.

Hatoyama also welcomed the strong outings by Japanese and South Korean figure skaters in Vancouver.

“South Korea is doing well, isn’t it? It’s nice to see Japan and South Korea doing well at the Olympics. It’s obviously good for both countries,” the prime minister said.

In Vancouver, Seiko Hashimoto, the head of the Japanese Olympic delegation, joined the chorus of praise for the 19-year-old figure skater.

“Asada might be disappointed since her goal was to win gold, but she really challenged Kim Yu Na under enormous pressure,” she said.