Japan Reverse Decision to Withdraw from ’11 Copa America

April 14, 2011

The Japanese Football Association (JFA) has announced a u-turn in its original decision to withdraw its national team from the Copa America 2011, having been crowned AFC Champions earlier in the year, in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The disasters on 11 March severely damaged a nuclear power plant in the country’s north-east, causing widespread electricity cuts that forced the temporary suspension of the country’s elite soccer competition J.League.

However a statement released by FIFA confirmed that JFA vice-president Kozo Tashima had told a news conference: “We, as the Japan Football Association, reached the conclusion today that we will take part in the Copa America. We are preparing to send a letter to the South American Football Confederation about our participation.”

J.League clubs have said they are opposed to sending top players to the Copa America, which will run from 1 to 24 July in Argentina but the JFA decided at an executive meeting today that it would send a squad mostly made up of Europe-based players, who will be having a pre-season break at the time.