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Both Japanese curling teams at the Asian Winter Games have their sights firmly set on the Pyeongchang Olympics in a year’s time, but this tournament could be bigger for the women after their recent loss in the nationals.

There is a chance of five-time men’s defending national champion SC Karuizawa Club not qualifying for Pyeongchang, but they have some margin for error. The team only needs a seventh-place finish at April’s world championships in Canada to punch its ticket, and become Japan’s first Olympic men’s curling team since 1998.

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