The organizers of a Shanghai marathon that is sponsored by a Tokyo-based chemical company abruptly changed the preparing proceedings, saying that the event cannot go ahead like planned because “a marathon sponsored by and named after a Japanese company is not suitable to be launched” at such a time.
The announcement was made at a press conference for the upcoming Toray Cup Shanghai International Marathon, named after Japanese company Toray Industries.
The organizers referred to the rising tensions between the two countries due to the disputed islands of Senkaku (Diayou in Chinese), which the Japanese government recently said it would buy from its private owners.
The event would however go on, the organizers said. “As a traditional Shanghai brand, the 2012 Shanghai International Marathon will still be held as planned.”
In a separate statement, the director of Shanghai Tourism Bureau, Dao Shuming, said that Japan’s participation in an annual Shanghai tourism festival, set to open on Friday night with a large parade of national floats, would be subject to special restrictions.
“In regards to float participation, under current circumstances, that would temporarily not run as arranged by the previous plan,” he said. A municipal government spokesperson said, when asked to explain, that even if they “cherish the friendship with people from other countries,” they “definitely would not step back on the issue of territorial sovereignty.”