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Shanghai Marathon Eliminates 15-Year Title Sponsor Toray and Eight Other Japanese Sponsors

translated by Brett Larner

On Sept. 29 China's Shanghai Metropolitan Sports Bureau announced the 17th running of the Shanghai Marathon on Dec. 2, with applications scheduled to open Oct. 6.  Noteworthy in the announcement was that Japanese corporation Toray, title sponsor since the Shanghai Marathon's second running, has been removed from the official race title, with eight other major Japanese companies including Japan Airlines and Uniqlo also having been taken off the sponsor list.

On Sept. 11 the same organizers had scheduled a press conference to release the outline of the race but stopped midway to announce, "Due to the Japanese government's attitude toward the Senkaku Islands (a.k.a. Diaoyu Islands) situation it is unacceptable to have a Japanese company as our title sponsor," clearly indicating that their actions are motivated by anti-Japanese sentiment.  This year the race aims to have 4000 more runners than last year and move up to a field of 30,000, but it is likely that the number of Japanese participants will be lower.

The photo below on the Shanghai Marathon website has been poorly doctored to remove the Toray name from the runners' race bibs, although it is still visible in the smaller version of the picture at lower left.

The current list of sponsors on the Shanghai Marathon is thin at best, with AIMS listed as the only international sponsor.  It is difficult to see an international organization such as AIMS condoning this politicization of the sport.


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