UPDATE DEC. 30:
Japan has announced its teams for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Four Continents, World Juniors and Worlds.
Official Fuji TV video links for the short and long programs of the medallists are below the lists.
The 2021 All Japan Championships will take place in Saitama, Dec. 22-26. A total of 32 men, 30 women, one pair and four ice dance teams are set to compete.
On Dec. 6 the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) announced that, per government restrictions, only foreign coaches with multiple entry visas will be allowed to enter Japan for this competition. That decision affects the ice dance teams of Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi and Misato Komatsubara, who are coached by Marina Zoueva in Florida, and Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto, who are currently based in Colorado Springs and train remotely with the I.AM team in Montréal, Canada. Ayumi Takanami and Shingo Nishiyama returned to Japan in early December, also without their coach Andrew Hallam. Stéphane Lambiel, the coach of Shoma Uno and Koshiro Shimada, is the only one confirmed to have the requisite visa.
Rika Kihira has withdrawn due to a lingering ankle injury that has not healed. The selection criteria announced by the JSF last July states participation in the Championships is mandatory for selection to the Olympic team, other than for those who fulfilled the requirements in another manner. Under that criteria, Kihira does not qualify for a bye to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who train with Bruno Marcotte in Canada will not compete at nationals, due to the possibility of not being able to re-enter the country given the strong possibility of another border closure. On Dec. 15 Miura and Kihara were named to the 2022 Olympic and World teams on the strength of their successes this season.
Two ice dance teams — Rikako Fukase and Oliver Zhang who train in Canada, and U.S. based Nicole Takahashi and Shiloh Judd — will not compete at nationals due to the tightened immigration/re-entry restrictions as a result of the new wave of COVID-19 sweeping the world.
Japan has three spots in men and women in Beijing, and one each in pairs and ice dance. Yuzuru Hanyu, Uno and Yuma Kagiyama are the likely candidates for the men′s berths. This will be the first competition of the season for Hanyu who has been sidelined with injury. It is not so cut and dried for the women with Kaori Sakamoto, Mai Mihara, Satoko Miyahara and others vying for one of the three places available.
In an interview with Fuji TV, Hanyu, who drew 24th in the short program, said his intention remains to land the quad Axel, but right now his goal is to make the Olympic team. “I still feel like I’m walking on clouds. Right now I have no intention of giving my ticket (to the Olympics) away. I’m a better skater than I ever was. At least inside my mind, I am the best I have ever been. That’s why I don’t want to give up.″ (Translation courtesy Akiko Tamura)
Muramoto and Takahashi had a solid start to the season, winning a local U.S. competition in August and finishing second at 2021 Warsaw Cup. They will be locked in a battle with Komatsubara and Koleto — who finished one place and 7.30 points behind their rivals at NHK Trophy in November and subsequently withdrew from Warsaw Cup — for the lone ice dance berth at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Reports are Muramoto and Takahashi have asked their former singles coaches, Mie Hamada and Utako Nagamitsu, to be with them in the kiss and cry at nationals.
Aside from the seeded skaters, the remainder of entries in the three disciplines were determined at the conclusion of the sectional competitions and the national junior championships. Skaters who received invitations following the 2021 Junior Championships:
(English – Now Live)
FUJI TV YOUTUBE CHANNEL
JAPAN FEDERATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL
(No live stream in 2020)
2021 RUSSIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS