Japan’s Shoma Uno is in second place following the short program at the Aichi Junior Grand Prix at Morikoro Park Skating Rink on Friday.

Uno, one of the nation’s hopes for the future, is just over one point behind leader Jin Boyang of China with 69.78 points.

Last season Uno was second in the Japan junior championships and finished fifth in the world juniors.

The Nagoya native is just off the lead despite falling on his opening triple axel. Uno bounced back to hit a triple lutz and a nice triple flip/triple toe loop combination jump to “Violin Sonata No. 9” by Kruetzer.

Jin (70.88) is a formidable opponent, having won the season-opening JGP in Slovenia last month. Last season he won both of his JGP assignments as well as the JGP Final in Fukuoka.

Kento Kajita is fifth with 58.92, while Taichiro Yamakuma (49.18) stands in 12th place.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Turzynbaeva is in front after the women’s short program with a score of 59.25.

Russia’s Serafima Sakhanovich is second at 56.03.

Japan’s three female competitors are bunched close together, holding down fifth, sixth and eighth place.

Yuka Nagai, who took second at the first JGP this season, is in medal contention again. The Tokyo native is fifth heading into Saturday’s free skate with 52.95 while skating to “East of Eden..”

Nagai opened with a triple toe loop/triple toe loop combo, but fell on a planned triple lutz.

She recovered to land a double axel.

“I made a mistake on my lutz which I regret,” Nagai stated. “But my step sequence felt really good.”

Nagai said she was influenced by the performance of world silver medalist Tatsuki Machida last season.

“My coach selected my music,” she noted. “It is the same as Tatsuki Machida used last season, which made a big impression on me. I want to use it to show my own expression and smile.”

Kaori Sakamoto, who hails from Kobe, is sixth at 52.70 after struggling on her opening triple/triple jump.

“I’m really upset,” she commented. “I stepped out on my flip/toe combo. But my spins were good. I’ve been working on them in training.”

Local favorite Yuhana Yokoi fell on her opening combo jump and is eighth on 50.92.

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