UPDATE: Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon Japan tour “Japanese Only” registration is sanitized to include NJ residents, but “Japanese Citizenship” remains requirement on actual registration page


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Hi Blog.  This is an update to the previous post, but it deserves a separate blog entry for the deceitfulness.  Thanks to Debito.org Readers contacting the organizers in Hong Kong, the 20th Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon made it clear to their Japan tour organizers (http://www.hkmarathon.jp) that restricting applications “exclusively for Japanese people” is unacceptable, as the event is open to all nationalities:


Case Ref No. FEED-VRSUP2-20151112-0378054 (BaCh/FiCh)

Dear Alex,

Thank you for contacting the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) on 10 November 2015, letting us know the comments posted on Dr. Arudou Debito’s website in regard to the registration requirements for the “2016 Hong Kong Marathon tour package” sold in Japan.

After receiving your email, we have immediately communicated with the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA), who is the organiser of Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon. According to HKAAA, all people who are residing in Japan, regardless of their nationalities, are allowed to join the mentioned tour. They have already advised the tour operator “Kinki Nippon Travel” to amend relevant wordings on the registration site . 

Once again, thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Should we could be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to call me or send me an email. 

Best Regards,

Fion Cheng
Senior Executive, Visitor Services
Hong Kong Tourism Board

Direct line: +852 2807 6108
Direct fax: +852 2807 6581
Website: http://www.DiscoverHongKong.com



This has resulted in changes to the website wording, from

“This tour is designed exclusively for Japanese people.  
Applications from other nationalities are not acceptable. Applications from non-Japanese runners will be treated as “invalid” and any deposit payment would not be refunded.”



“This tour is designed exclusively for people residing in Japan. 
Applications from other countries are not acceptable. Applications from runners who are not residing in Japan will be treated as “invalid” and any deposit payment would not be refunded.”


Sounds better.  Gone is the assumption that foreign nationals living in Japan are not residents of Japan.

However, if you actually go to the website registration page (http://www.hkmarathon.jp/pre.html), the requirement for applicants of Japanese citizenship (item six in the bullet points: 私は日本国籍を有しています) is still there:


(screen capture as of November 14, 2015 JST)

So although the English has changed for the purposes of placating the English-reading world, the “secret code for domestic consumption only” that is the Japanese written language is maintaining the same “Japanese Only” rules. It is very hard to see this as a mere oversight.

And as written, NJ resident applicants still face refusal and then a non-refund of their deposit payments. It’s gone from mere exclusionism to the potential for misleading applicants into corporate theft. How duplicitous and unprofessional of the Japan-side organizers. Imagine the internet uproar if a Japanese company made a mistake this big for its Japanese customers.  Again, its seems, foreign customers in Japan don’t matter.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Was tweeted this picture in regards to the Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon registration desk for Japanese in Bangkok, Thailand.  Seems to be more systematic than just Japanese organizers within Japan.  More like the organization is excluding foreigners everywhere in the world, including in those nations where Japanese are foreigners themselves.


More tweeted details from the same source were: “November 12, 2015 in Bangkok Thailand. Registration for the Standard Chartered BKK marathon. they also had their own ‘bib boards’ i.e. Names and bib numbers not with the rest of the marathon runners, but ‘separate'”.

3 comments on “UPDATE: Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon Japan tour “Japanese Only” registration is sanitized to include NJ residents, but “Japanese Citizenship” remains requirement on actual registration page

  • Wow… this is pretty bold and unacceptable to say the least. Thanks for posting this. I hope it gets covered by the major news outlets as well.

  • I wish I had the time to have posted this before.
    I’m sorry, I had a hectic weekend.

    I actually contacted them about this on Friday (Nov 13).

    In the morning, they had not one but FOUR places requiring Japanese nationality:
    -the first question of the FAQ said “当サイトでご登録いただけるのは、日本国籍を持つ方のみです。”
    and in English
    Only the Japanese can be registered from this web site.
    Non-Japanese can not make registration
    *It is not valid to be registered. There is no refund.” (sic)
    -the registration page had the bullet point like it still does now, saying “私は日本国籍を有しています”
    -and the big red text just above the 申し込み (registration) button included the wording “日本国籍の方のみ” (Japanese nationality only).

    I felt flustered but it seemed weird that they would try to fool the good people of Hong Kong but still leave the English exclusionary text in the FAQ.

    Contacted them with a brief e-mail just before noon quoting the registration page, pointing about the FAQ and asking, should I believe the front page or the other parts?

    A representative replied just before 14h saying
    “Thank you for your inquiry.
    It is now open to residents, so if you live in Japan you can register.
    There are few spots remaining, so please do not delay.” (translation mine)

    He didn’t make any excuses, though if he wanted he could have said it was sold out, since the half-marathon (was it?) was indeed sold out at the time.

    I checked the homepage and the Japanese nationality requirement was gone from the FAQ and the red part above the registration button. It remained on the bullet point, as it does now it seems.

    Sorry again I couldn’t share this until today.

    The fact that the representative didn’t give any excuses preventing my registration, and their removing of the nationality clause from both the FAQ AND the registration’s page big red text (which is only in Japanese) strongly suggests to me, more than deceitful intent, that they did a *very* sloppy job at correcting the homepage not once but twice. First when contacted by the Hong Kong organizers, and later by me.

    This seems consistent with #4Anonymous’ phone call to the company and their non apologetic wording before the HK organizer asked them to allow all residents.
    They just complied routinely to the organizer’s request. When I pointed the inconsistencies, they didn’t apologize or explain anything. (Should note my mail was extremely neutral, meant only as asking for clarification.)
    I strongly doubt the company has reflected on what they have done (反省).

    So while I’m happy and want to thank Debito, #4Anonymous, RP, Mr_Alex for making Japan a better place, I think this is just an example of successful 外圧 (external pressure). Maybe not even that, just the organization that sets the rules making it clear they should be followed. So thank you HK Tourism Board and HKAAA, I’ll make sure to visit your wonderful city again.

    But I’ll look for alternatives to Kinki Nippon Tourist.

  • Kirk Masden says:

    Fukuoka seems to have had a similar policy, which they are modifying slightly:

    Fukuoka Marathon to Increase Runner Capacity and Add Foreigner Slot
    Fukuoka Now, Mar. 16, 2016, 10:30


    The third Fukuoka Marathon will take place on Nov. 13 (Sun.) in Fukuoka City and Itoshima City. This year, the number of runners allowed to compete has been increased from 10,000 to 11,000, and an additional slot (200 runners) has been added for foreign residents (called the Asian Slot, since Asian residents are the target demographic). (Volunteers for this slot will be given a priority slot in next year’s marathon (max. 200 runners).) The Fukuoka and Itoshima Citizens’ Slot’s capacity will be 2,000 people (same as last year’s marathon). There will also be a wheelchair race (20 participants, 5.2 km) and a fun run (2,000 participants, 5.2 km). The course route is the same as last year, with runners leaving the starting line at 8.20 in Tenjin (fun run also starts at 8:20, wheelchair race starts at 8:15). The runners have seven hours to run through the Momochi area and Kyushu University New Campus to the Shima Exchange Plaza in Itoshima City. Registrations will be accepted between Apr. 18 ~ May 23 on the official website. The entry fee is ¥10,800 for the full marathon, and ¥3,240 for the wheelchair race and fun run. Given the rise in the number of runners this year, the number of volunteers will increase to 4,000 (800 more than last year). Registration for volunteers opens May 2. For inquiries: 092-711-4676 (Fukuoka Marathon Executive Committee)

    Source: Asahi Shimbun, 3/1/16

    福岡マラソン、定員1千人増 今年は11月13日開催
    朝日新聞 2016年3月1日14時27分





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