The Japanese national soccer team’s away trip to North Korea is expected to take place in the dark.

“It is highly likely that Japan’s away match against North Korea will not be broadcast live,” Japanese media “Sports Hochi” reported on Sunday. The Asian Football Confederation confirmed the venue of the match as Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium, but informed the two football associations that it will cancel terrestrial and Internet broadcasts in line with U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

Japan will hold two consecutive matches against North Korea during the period of A-match in March. The two teams, which are tied to Group B of the second qualifying round for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North and Central America, will play their third match at the Tokyo National Stadium on Tuesday, and move to Pyongyang on Tuesday for the fourth match. Currently, Japan is leading the group with two consecutive wins, while North Korea is ranking second with one win and one loss.

It is the first time in 13 years that Japan has played an A-match in North Korea. In November 2011, they entered Pyongyang through the third qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. At that time, Japan was discouraged in front of a North Korean crowd with extreme anti-Japanese sentiment, and lost to North Korea 0-1 by allowing the winning goal in the fifth minute of the second half.

For Japan, away trips to North Korea remain a fear. “At that time, the Japanese national team was detained for four hours at Pyongyang Sunan Airport. The baggage inspection was carried out for a long time, and the food that was intended to be brought into the country was confiscated,” Sports Hochi said. “I couldn’t bring my cell phone and laptop in, and the Japan Football Association urged the team to ban walking and shopping.”

Still, I was able to watch the match live. “The 2011 away match against North Korea was broadcast live on TBS and NHK, and the viewer rating was as high as 15.5 percent even though it was a 4 p.m. game on a weekday,” the media said. “The highest viewer rating ever reached 21.6 percent.”

This time, the Japanese team cannot even figure out the situation. As the political tension is even worse than 13 years ago, it is now impossible to trade even the broadcasting rights granted to the home team. In response, the Japan Football Association demanded that a third country be held, saying, “The safety of the team will not be guaranteed,” but the request was rejected. According to Sports Hochi, it is the first time that the A-match in Japan is not broadcast live on the Internet since the match against Syria in November last year. At that time, negotiations over the broadcasting rights failed. 노래방알바

South Korea has also experienced an away game in Pyongyang. Bento, who went on an away game in Pyongyang in October 2019 to qualify for the Qatar World Cup, drew 0-0. For the same reason, it was not broadcast live and did not allow reporters to visit North Korea. North Korea only provided a 60-minute edited video long after the game. It is still unknown exactly what happened during the game.

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