China Plans To Rebrand Marathon Over Controversial Japanese Title Sponsor
The "gathering Sino-Japanese storm over a set of disputed islands has sent Shanghai authorities sprinting away from the Tokyo chemical company that has sponsored one of the city’s proudest sporting events for the past 16 years," according to James Areddy of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A press conference for the upcoming Toray Cup Shanghai Int'l Marathon "was thrown into disarray" on Tuesday when local authorities abruptly called a halt to the proceedings. Later, officials explained in a statement that the event could not go ahead as planned "given current circumstances surrounding the Senkaku Islands." Relations between China and Japan "have grown increasingly testy in recent weeks owing to a series of provocations" related to the Senkakus, a set of rocky islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by China. The Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau said the marathon, an event named for Tokyo-based Toray Industries Inc., could not go ahead because “a marathon sponsored by and named for a Japanese company is not suitable to be launched” at such a time (WSJ, 9/11).