Japan may yet make Copa América appearance
Japan’s domestic league kicked off on the 5th of March but was suspended after the earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami that struck on the 11th. Matches are set to resume on the 23rd of April, and the J. League had originally decided that the enforced schedule changes would make the release of its top players an impossibility, thereby scuppering the Japan Football Association’s hopes of sending a squad to the tournament to be held in Argentina.
Although the Copa América is officially sanctioned by FIFA, as Japan are not a member of CONMEBOL, the convening authority, their participation will be by invitation alone. This means that unlike its South American counterparts the JFA is unable to demand the release of players for the national squad. However an agreement was reached today to allow a squad of primarily expatriate footballers to attend. Overseas clubs may however prove equally disinclined to release players and if negotiations prove problematic the JFA will likely have to withdraw once more.