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Japan Wants Safety Guarantees for Soccer Match in North Korea

Japan says it wants safety guarantees for its players and fans when its national soccer (football) team travels to North Korea for a World Cup qualifying match in June.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda says it is a necessary precondition for any international match that players can play safely and spectators can be protected.

Japanese concerns were raised by scenes of mob violence at a match in Pyongyang between Iran and North Korea on Wednesday. The game was televised and cameras showed the North Korean spectators throwing bottles, cans and seats at players and officials on the field. Riot police had to clear a path for the victorious Iranian players to reach their team bus.

The violence at the game was a rare occurrence in the tightly controlled North Korean state.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.