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North Korea-Japan qualifier in Pyongyang is off due to 'unforeseen circumstances'

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The World Cup soccer qualifier between North Korea and Japan in Pyongyang will not be played as scheduled on Tuesday.

The Asian Football Confederation confirmed on Friday the game was off.

Japan Football Association chief Kozo Tashima said they weren't going to North Korea on Thursday, soon after beating North Korea 1-0 in Tokyo.

North Korea was reportedly concerned by “a malignant infectious disease” in Japan, an apparent reference to rising cases of streptococcus infections.

But the AFC offered only “unforeseen circumstances.”

“The decision ... comes after the AFC was informed on March 20 by the DPR Korea Football Association of the need to move the match to a neutral venue due to unavoidable circumstances,” it said in a statement.

Japan has three wins from three games to lead Asia Group B. North Korea has one win from three games.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer