Three North Korean officials including vice sports minister Won Kil U have canceled their trip to Japan scheduled for this week despite Tokyo's earlier decision to allow their attendance at a seminar related to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, sources familiar with the matter said.
The Japanese government had made an exception in green-lighting the trip, since Tokyo has in principle banned North Korean nationals from entering the country as part of its unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, though entry related to sports events can be an exception.
The officials conveyed their decision without providing an explanation.
Other sources said Saturday North Korea also cancelled its planned participation in the World Judo Championships to be held from Aug 25 to Sept 1 at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan.
The three North Korean officials were scheduled to arrive in Japan on Monday to attend a seminar for officials of National Olympic Committees in Tokyo from Tuesday to Thursday.
The seminar will be held to update more than 200 participating NOCs on the status of 2020 Games preparations, and will include a visit to the New National Stadium, the main venue of next summer's games.
In November last year, Japan allowed North Korea's sports minister Kim Il Guk to attend a general assembly meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Japan.© KYODO