KOCHI, Japan – South Korean professional baseball team LG Twins has canceled its annual fall training in western Japan amid an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries, local Japanese officials said Tuesday.
Since 2013, the team has held a month-long training camp at the Kochi Athletic Recreation Park in the city of Kochi from around November every year, but it told the Kochi Visitors and Convention Association in August that it would call off the upcoming round.
While the team only explained that a professional basketball team sponsored by electric appliance maker LG Corp. has similarly canceled its training in Japan, association officials suspect intensifying bilateral tensions played a role in its decision.
“Sports and politics are two different things. We want to negotiate with them so they can come here feeling comfortable next year,” said an official of the association.
Bilateral relations between the two countries have sunk to their lowest point in years since South Korean court rulings last year that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation for wartime labor, and Tokyo tightened in July export controls on South Korea — a move seen by Seoul as retaliation for the court decisions.
The bilateral spat has also moved into the security realm as South Korea decided in August to terminate a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.