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North Korea applies to compete at judo world championships in Japan: source

Kyodo

North Korea has applied to send athletes to this summer’s world judo championships in Tokyo, a source close to the matter said Saturday.

Even though Japan has no diplomatic relations and forbids North Koreans from entering the country in principle as part of its sanctions, athletes and officials can be admitted if they are taking part in international sports tournaments.

According to the source, the All Japan Judo Federation on June 29 received an application for 15 North Koreans, including athletes and officials, to participate at the world championships at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan in August and September.

North and South Korea have agreed to aim to compete together in the judo mixed team event at the 2020 Olympics in the Japanese capital. The mixed event at the worlds is scheduled for Sept. 1, but the North Koreans have stated they will leave on Aug. 30, the source said.

The world championships will double as a test event for next year’s Summer Olympics.

Japan has slapped a set of sanctions against North Korea, including the entry ban, in protest of the latter’s past abductions of Japanese nationals as well as the nation’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development programs.