by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(1 Dec 2020) The NHK Trophy is named after the Japanese TV station which has sponsored and covered the event for many years. It takes place in different rinks in Japan every year. This year it was the fourth and last Grand Prix after the three in the USA, China and Russia, and was held at the Towayakuhin RACTAB Dome, in Japanís second largest city of Osaka.
Japan has almost beaten the Covid 19 pandemic because there are very few cases in the whole country. In order not to risk this success, the country normally does not allow anybody to enter the country except for a quarantine of two weeks. An ISU event manager from Germany who the Japanese federation had hired for the NHK Trophy had to wait for two weeks before being allowed to start working on site, he could only work online before that. Even Japanese citizens who live abroad have to stay in a very strict quarantine in an airport hotel when entering Japan before being allowed to travel into the country. Therefore except for the South Korean lady Young You (who sometimes trains in Japan), this year the NHK Trophy was a domestic competition.
There was no pair skating event because Japan has only one pair at the moment. Rika Miura & Ryuichi Kihara train in the Canadian city of Oakville near Toronto with Bruno Marcotte and did not want to leave Canada at the moment because this would have meant two weeks of quarantine in Japan without training before the NHK Trophy and again two weeks of quarantine without training when returning to Canada. They had been invited to Skate Canada, but this event was cancelled. The quarantine in Japan was also the reason why Shoma Uno, Rika Kihira and Koshira Shimana did not take part in the NHK Trophy because they live in Switzerland and train there with Stephane Lambiel. They had been invited to the Grand Prix in France which was cancelled. Yuzuru Hanyu has announced in the summer not to compete at any fall event this year. About 3,000 spectators were allowed to watch the competition in Osaka live.