In a recent article in the Asahi Shinbun, perhaps the leading daily in Japan, there was a listing of 25 countries that will do their final training and acclimating for the Beijing Olympics in Japan.
The main reasons for this are: proximity to Beijing, good facilities in Japan, similar climate, clean air, and a high degree of hygiene. In particular, the final two were cited as major factors.
17 teams from Europe will be arriving in Japan shortly, among them Germany and France. The German track and field team will be in Hokkaido, its swimming team in Kumamoto. The French canoe team will join their American and Belgian counterparts in Komatsu City, in Ishikawa.
The English swimming team will practice in Osaka.
Perhaps the highest profile team, though, will be the Argentine soccer team. They will be in Niigata doing final preparations.
The overall tone of the article was a bit smug, and a clear swipe at Beijing--which, the reasoning went, is polluted, lacks good facilities, and does not have safe, drug-free food.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008