[Choi Byung-jin’s Hangzhou check-in] <4> A Japanese reporter asked, “Is the ‘military issue’ important to Korea this time again?”

September 20, 2023 <Day 4>

온라인카지노 Korea achieved a pleasant victory against Kuwait in the first game. A whopping 9-0. I would like to applaud them for announcing a good start despite the burden of the cliché yet impossible to ignore saying, ‘The first game is always the most important.’

Then we headed to Xiaoshan Sports Center Stadium to watch the match between Japan and Qatar. It was Japan’s first match in this tournament.

While taking a taxi, the stadium appeared through the front window. Blue lights surrounded the stadium so that they could be seen at a glance even from a distance. As the sun set and the rain fell, the stadium looked brighter.

As usual, after going through the bag check and body search, I headed to the press room to get some water. There he could see Japanese reporters looking forward to Japan’s first match. Thinking about Korea’s results, he said to himself, ‘I felt the same way,’ and then moved to the press box.

As I took my seat in the press box and looked around, I saw a Japanese reporter checking the results of yesterday’s game. Japanese reporters asked for an interview to hear various stories, including what they thought of this tournament, and the Japanese reporter readily accepted.

The name of this man, who gives off the aura of a soccer expert and works as a freelance journalist, is Akiko Kawabate.

Since there was a lack of information about Japan, I first asked Kawabate about the characteristics of this team.

Kawabate said, “This Asian Games national team was selected in preparation for the Paris Olympics to be held in 2024. These players are not complete main players. “As a kind of test, these are players who are planning to participate in the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Asian Cup to be held next year,” he explained.

As players to watch in this tournament, Kane Sato (22), who plays with number 13, and Jun Nishikawa, who plays number 10, were selected.

Kawabate showed the faces of the two players to the reporter and said, “Kane, who plays for Werder Bremen, plays very aggressively. “He can play on both the left and right flanks, and sometimes goes to the forefront, showing off his ability to break through,” he praised.

He continued, “Nishikawa is currently playing for Sagan Tosu. He is a very technical player and has a very good left foot. “He is good at both passing and kicking and makes smart moves,” he added.

The two players started as starters against Qatar and played actively as explained by Kawabate. Nishikawa in particular stood out and even assisted Japan’s second goal with an accurate left-footed cross.

My question was over and now Kawabate asked. They somehow managed to converse with each other in poor English, and when Kawabate felt frustrated with his own questions, he turned on the translator.

And wrote it down. ‘I watched Korea in the previous two Asian Games. Is there a lot of pressure on the ‘military’ this time too?’

After thinking for a moment, he said, “Yes. Likewise in this competition, the ‘military issue’ is very important to Korea. Moreover, this time, Lee Kang-in, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), is also receiving more attention as he participates. Before the competition, there was a lot of criticism due to poor performance. “I’m glad I won the first game.”

It felt like Japan now clearly understood that ‘Korea’s Asian Games = military’.

After hearing the reporter’s answer, Kawabate nodded his head and said one last word.

“When I looked at Korea’s roster, I was surprised because there were so many good players. It’s Lee Kang-in! “I hope Japan wins, but honestly I think it will be difficult.”

Isn’t it Korean culture to repay someone who receives praise?

“But Japan is always a difficult opponent for Korea. Even if we meet this time, it will be a difficult situation. “Let’s wish each other good luck.”

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