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Myanmar soccer player files for asylum in Japan after protest salute

Myanmar soccer player files for asylum in Japan after protest salute

A Myanmar national soccer goalkeeper applied for refugee status in Japan on Tuesday after expressing fear for his life for making a three-finger salute in protest at the military coup in his country during a recent World Cup qualifier near Tokyo, his lawyer said. Pyae Lyan Aung, who refused to return home with his teammates last week after the football match, submitted an application with the Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau, according to the lawyer. Myanmar national soccer goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung, who is seeking asylum in Japan, prays for peace in his home country at a Buddhist temple in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on June 20, 2021. (Kyodo) During the match between Japan and Myanmar in Chiba in late May, the goalkeeper, who came on as a substitute, raised three fingers of his right hand with "WE NEED JUSTICE" written on them in English while Myanmar's national anthem was being played. The salute has been used as a show of resistance in Myanmar to the Feb. 1 coup. After the game, he told immigration authorities at Kansai airport in the western prefecture of Osaka that he wanted to remain in Japan and that he had decided not to board his flight. His move comes even as Japan is known for granting refugee status to only a fraction of applicants. Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Friday that Japan would "appropriately handle Myanmar people in light of changes in the situation (in their country)," but declined to comment on a specific case. The Justice Ministry has said it will allow Myanmar residents who wish to remain in Japan to extend their stays as an emergency step. The measure also covers people from Myanmar seeking refugee status in Japan. The coup ousted the democratically elected government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and put her under house arrest, while other prominent politicians were also detained, fueling protests across the Southeast Asian nation. As of Monday, 873 people including peaceful protesters had been killed by the junta, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group tracking deaths and detainees in Myanmar. Related coverage: Myanmar soccer player to apply for refugee status in Japan on June 22 Myanmar soccer goalie who gave protest salute to seek asylum in Japan Pyae Lyan Aung smiles after he applied for refugee status in Osaka on June 22, 2021. (Kyodo)

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Coronavirus

Tokyo Olympic organizers to allow alcohol to be sold at venues

Tokyo Olympic organizers to allow alcohol to be sold at venues

Tokyo Olympic organizers plan to allow alcoholic beverages to be sold to spectators at competition venues during the global sports event but with restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, sources close to the matter said Tuesday. The decision was apparently made in consideration of a sponsorship contract with an alcoholic beverage company. Seiko Hashimoto (R), president of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, and Toshiro Muto, CEO of the committee, prepare to speak at a press conference in Tokyo after attending five-party talks on the spectator cap for the Olympics on June 21, 2021. (Pool photo) (Kyodo) Organizers will likely set time limits for such sales, the sources said, as the Japanese capital readies itself for the start of the games in around a month. A guideline on spectators for the Tokyo Olympics, due to kick off on July 23, will be unveiled later this week. In its draft, organizers ask spectators to refrain from eating and drinking in groups in passageways at the venues, and to travel to and from venues directly without stopping anywhere, as part of measures to reduce the risk of virus spread. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the games organizing committee, said Monday the sale of alcoholic drinks to spectators is "being considered" but is dependent on whether people can be deterred from speaking loudly or shouting and whether they can observe safety protocols when moving inside the venues. Rules currently in place for the general public in Japan will also be a factor in considering whether such beverages can be sold, she said. Also Monday, the organizers decided venues can be filled to 50 percent of capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 spectators, following months of discussions on an attendance cap for local fans. Spectators from overseas had already been barred. In Tokyo and other prefectures that are currently under a quasi-state of emergency through July 11, serving alcohol at restaurants and bars is conditionally allowed until 7 p.m. In the capital, people are now allowed to drink alcohol alone or in pairs for up to 90 minutes between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at restaurants and bars certified as having taken steps to control infection. For areas under the state of emergency, the sale of alcohol at most sports events was banned, while there were cases of time-limited sale in areas under the quasi-state of emergency. Related coverage: Tokyo Olympic spectator cap set at 10,000 people per venue Alcohol allowed but no condom distribution in Tokyo Olympic village FEATURE: Olympic spectator woes prove bad news for Tokyo's souvenir sellers    

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