Tuesday, 5th January 2010
North Korean team head to Japan for contest
The North Korean women's football team is to visit Japan to take part in a tournament in February, after the country relaxed its visa requirements for the players.
Japan has had sanctions in place against travel from Pyongyang but has lifted some rules to allow the team to travel to take part in the East Asian championships.
Most North Korean citizens cannot travel to Japan at all after sanctions put in place following North Korea's testing of nuclear bombs back in 2006.
Relations between the two nations have been traditionally fraught as Japan used to colonise parts of Korea.
Commenting on the decision, chief cabinet secretary Hirofumi Hirano said: "Basically we have decided to approve it, because it is for sport. But we will conduct the appropriate immigration inspections."
Japan, South Korea and China will also be taking part in the East Asian championships which is being run by the East Asian Football Federation.
Written by Kimberley Homer.