Winter Olympics: Japanese broadcaster NHK pulls Games qualifiers over sex toy ads

TOKYO (AFP) – Advertisements for a sex toy company plastered over the ice at qualifiers for the Beijing Olympics’ curling competition have prompted Japan’s national broadcaster to pull matches off the air.

NHK had planned to show all of the Japanese mixed-doubles team’s matches at the qualifying tournament in Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands.

But a red on-ice advertisement for Dutch sex toy company EasyToys prompted a hasty rethink, with NHK pulling the plug on Japan’s opener against the United States on Sunday (Dec 5).

Broadcasts of subsequent matches, including against Latvia and Estonia, were also scrapped, along with Tuesday’s scheduled clash with New Zealand.

NHK told AFP that the decision was taken to allow time to determine whether airing EasyToys’ logo violated its broadcasting guidelines.

“The guidelines call for caution over content that can have an effect on minors and there was a risk that it contravened good taste,” said an NHK spokesman.

NHK said it had yet to decide whether it would air Japan’s final round-robin game, against Finland on Wednesday.

It said it was “reaching out to the World Curling Federation to achieve a situation where we can broadcast as soon as possible”.

Japan have won one and lost three of their matches so far.

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