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Rika Kihira took the lead after the women’s short program at the Japan Championships on Thursday night at Yoyogi Gymnasium.

Kihira, who was the runner-up behind Kaori Sakamoto at the nationals last year, earned a score of 73.98 points. Four-time national champion Satoko Miyahara is in second place with 70.11, while Sakamoto is third on 69.95.

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