Image of Asia: North Korean soccer team heads to tournament

AP News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2016 9:37 AM
Image of Asia: North Korean soccer team heads to tournament

In this photo by Wong Maye-E, North Korea's women's soccer team fills out customs forms in front of a globe structure as they prepare to depart for Beijing at Pyongyang's International Airport. The team is attempting to travel to Osaka, Japan, to play qualifying matches for the Summer Olympics. Japan plans to allow the team to enter the country despite sanctions it imposed after the North's recent nuclear test and rocket launch. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters Tuesday the decision was made because of the sports community's view that athletes should not be discriminated against for their nationality. Australia, China, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan also are competing in the tournament that begins Monday, with two teams advancing to the Olympics. Beijing is the main destination for all flights out of Pyongyang, regardless of the travelers' eventual destinations.