Lifestyle & Belief

Japan women's soccer team forced to fly economy, not men


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released this photo of Japanese writing found on a soccer ball from a school in the strike zone of the March, 2011 tsunami. It washed up on a remote Alaskan island recently.


David Baxter

Japan's world champion women's soccer team is not getting the royal treatment for the 2012 Olympics.

Members of the squad complained after they were forced to fly economy class, while the men's team was given seats in business class, according to BBC News.

The women's team, known as Nadeshiko Japan, is a strong contender to earn a gold medal this summer, while the men's team is expected to go home empty handed.

"I guess it should have been the other way around," star player Homare Sawa told Japanese media.

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According to the Telegraph, the women's team flew from Tokyo to Paris on Japan Airlines for an warm-up match against France and despite winning the Women's World Cup in Germany last year were upgraded from economy to "premium economy."

Meanwhile, the men's Olympic soccer team flew business class to its own warm-up matches, as it has since 1996, despite the fact it last won an Olympic medal in 1968, the Telegraph reported.

Fox News reported local media said Japan's association claims the men's seat upgrade recognized the players' "professional status."