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Japan and Great Britain's women's Olympic soccer teams take the knee to protest racism

Yui Hasegawa, left, and others take the knee before the women's soccer match between Japan and Great Britain at Sapporo Dome on July 24, 2021. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

TOKYO -- All the players from Japan and Great Britain's women's soccer teams dropped to one knee on the pitch to protest against racial discrimination just before the start of their group stage match in the Tokyo Olympics on July 24.

    The move is meant to show sympathy for the "Black Lives Matter" movement that spread after the assault and death of a black man by a white police officer in the U.S. last May. The British team also took the knee on July 21 against Chile.

    Saki Kumagai, captain of the "Nadeshiko" Japan team, said, "We heard (from the British side) that they were going to do it. The whole team talked about it, and it gave us a chance to think about racism. We also decided to take the knee to show respect for the actions of the British."

    During the Tokyo Games, athletes can express political, religious, and racial movement activities at the award ceremony and competition venues under certain conditions.

    The match was held at Sapporo Dome, and Japan lost 0-1.

    (Japanese original by Takumi Taniguchi, Sports News Department)

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