Japan pulls out of Mideast table tennis events over security

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SHAFAQNA – Japan’s table tennis chiefs said Thursday they have pulled out of events in Kuwait and Qatar because of safety concerns following the murder of two Japanese men by Islamist extremists.In an indication of the national nervousness provoked by the killings in lawless Syria, the Japan Table Tennis Association said it would not be sending anyone to the events, which are part of the World Tour.

The Kuwait Open will start on Wednesday next week and the Qatar Open on February 17.

“As media reported, Japanese nationals were abducted and murdered in the Middle East while unsavoury messages were sent out,” the association said in a statement.

“Considering the latest situation, the association decided to cancel the plan to send the team to the Kuwait and Qatar Open tournaments.”

Tokyo has long avoided getting embroiled in tinderbox conflicts across the Middle East and had never been the target of Islamic extremists until the killing of journalist Kenji Goto and self-styled contractor Haruna Yukawa.

Their brutal murders has shocked this often insular country, which frequently struggles to differentiate events in other parts of the world, and has a tendency to lump far-flung places together as “abroad”.

Source : AFP.com

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