Strained Sino-Japanese Relations Lead to Shanghai Marathon Re-think

September 12, 2012

Sino-Japanese tensions over the disputed Senkaku islands have caused complications related to sponsorship of the Shanghai International Marathon.

Tokyo-based chemical company, Toray, has sponsored the marathon— one of the city’s proudest sporting events— for the past 16 years.

But the long-standing agreement is under threat after yesterday’s press conference for the upcoming Toray Cup Shanghai International Marathon was called to a halt by local authorities.

Officials explained in later realeased statement the event could not go ahead as planned given current circumstances surrounding the Senkaku Islands.

Relations between China and Japan have become strained in recent weeks because of a series of provocations related to the Senkakus, a set islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by China, where they are called the ‘Diaoyu Islands’.

The disruption of the Toray press conference occurred on the same day that China sent two government surveillance vessels to the islands. The Japanese government had announced on Monday that it planned to buy some of the islands from private owners.

In a statement posted on its official feed on Sina’s Weibo microblogging service, the Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau said “a marathon sponsored by and named for a Japanese company is not suitable to be launched” under these circumstances.

“As a traditional Shanghai brand, the 2012 Shanghai International Marathon will still be held as planned,” the bureau said, citing the marathon organising committee. {jcomments on}