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Football: 'Japanese Only' banner scandal hits J-League

Japan's professional football league said Monday it was investigating after a banner that read "Japanese only" appeared at a weekend match, stoking speculation the insult was aimed at a South Korean striker. The large banner was hoisted near a gate to the stands of a stadium in the city of Saitama near Tokyo, where home club Urawa Red Diamonds were taking on rivals Sagan Tosu. Urawa said Sunday it was questioning an unspecified number of people who had displayed the banner, which also featured a Japanese flag, saying their "words and deeds evoked discrimination".

Football: 'Japanese Only' banner scandal hits J-League

Japan's professional football league said Monday it was investigating after an apparently racist banner reading "Japanese only" appeared at a weekend match. The large banner, written in English, was hoisted near a gate to the stands of a stadium in the city of Saitama near Tokyo, where home club Urawa Red Diamonds were taking on rivals Sagan Tosu.

Football: Shiotani gives Sanfrecce win over Kawaskai Frontale

Tsukasa Shiotani scored from a 95th-minute free-kick to give two-time defending J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima a 2-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday. Yu Kobayashi put Frontale ahead on the stroke of half-time only for Hisato Sato to equalise in the 57th minute, before Shiotani stepped up with the match deep into injury time to slam the ball home and preserve Sanfrecce's 100 percent record two games into the new season.

Football: Forlan flops on debut as Cerezo lose to Sanfrecce

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan fell flat on his J-League debut as Cerezo Osaka lost 1-0 to defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Saturday's season opener. Former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid forward Forlan sparked a fresh buzz of excitement in the increasingly dowdy J-League when he joined Cerezo from Brazilian side Internacional in January in an estimated $5.9 million deal.

Football: Forlan restores glamour to frumpy J-League

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan takes centre-stage as Cerezo Osaka begin the new J-League season looking to claim the scalp of twice-defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Saturday. Former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid forward Forlan joined Cerezo from Brazil's Internacional in January, restoring a sheen of glamour to a league that had grown increasingly austere since its 1990s heyday when big-money deals brought Gary Lineker, Dunga and Dragan Stojkovic to Japan.

Olympics: Japan urged to demonstrate 'energy' in Sochi

Japan's Winter Olympic delegation was urged Monday to demonstrate the country's "energy" and aim for its best ever medal haul as they readied to leave for the Games in Sochi. About 100 Japanese athletes so far selected for Sochi gathered at a plush hotel in Tokyo for a ceremony to launch the delegation, expected to swell into Japan's biggest ever Winter Olympic expedition with additional entries.

Vice chair of Tokyo Olympic committee to be from business sector

The government plans to select the vice chair of the organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics from the business community, Japan's minister in charge of Olympic preparations said Monday. Speaking to reporters, Hakubun Shimomura, who heads the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, declined to reveal the name of the figure he has in mind, saying, "I haven't obtained the person's consent yet."

Ex-PM Mori to become head of Tokyo Olympic organizing body

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has accepted the government's request to become head of the 2020 Olympic organizing committee, a Cabinet minister said Sunday. Education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura said Mori had given informal consent in their meeting Sunday night. The host city and the Japanese Olympic Committee are preparing to establish the organizing committee on Jan. 24. The 76-year-old former prime minister initially rejected the request, citing his age.

Ex-PM Mori to become head of Tokyo Olympic organizing body

Former Prime Minister Yoshio Mori has accepted the government's request to become head of the 2020 Olympic organizing committee, a Cabinet minister said Sunday. Education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura said Mori had given informal consent in their meeting Sunday night. The host city and the Japanese Olympic Committee are preparing to establish the organizing committee on Jan. 24. The 76-year-old former prime minister initially rejected the request, citing his age.

Baseball: Japan's Tanaka in US transfer talks with MLB clubs

Star Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is heading to the United States to kick off negotiations with Major League Baseball clubs over an expected high-profile transfer, media reported on Thursday. It will be the 25-year-old's first official contact with US teams looking to sign him, since his team Rakuten Eagles agreed a 30-day window for transfer bids in December. Among teams expected to take an interest are the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, Jiji Press and other media said.
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