June 29, 2008 / 11:36 AM / in 10 years

Teams from 24 nations plan Beijing camps in Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - Teams from 24 countries plan to hold pre-Olympic training camps in Japan before August’s Beijing Games, a survey showed on Sunday.

The United States, Canada, Germany, France and Israel are among the nations whose athletes will prepare for the Olympics in Japan, according to a poll by Japanese news agency Kyodo.

Reasons for traveling to Japan ranged from concerns about air pollution to potential political unrest in China, as well as access to top training facilities in Japan, the survey showed.

A time difference of only one hour between the countries was also a factor cited for teams choosing Japan as a stopover before the August 8-24 Olympics.

Cities from Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido island to south-western Kyushu will host overseas athletes from July.

Sweden are set to send the biggest delegation of around 150 athletes, coaches and officials to Kyushu’s seaside hub Fukuoka, which has direct flights to Beijing.

Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Clare Fallon

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