Despite the tragedy unfolding in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese FA have confirmed that they still intend to play their upcoming friendly matches against Montenegro and New Zealand.
Japan’s match against Montenegro was scheduled to be held in Shizuoka, south-west of Tokyo, while the match against New Zealand was scheduled to take place in Tokyo itself.
However the JFA’s general secretary, Kozo Tashima, believes that the games will still go ahead, in spite of the disaster: “We will hold it in Shizuoka of course, and I think having the game in Tokyo will really mean something”.
Tashima has also emphasised that being able to uphold these fixtures will help to unify the country, and send a strong message to the world.
“The matches are still two weeks away and we need to send a message to the rest of the world”.
“The entire Japanese football community needs to help the country get back on its feet again. Not just soccer, but I think the whole sports world in Japan needs to step up for the nation”.
We will of course keep you up-to-date with any changes, but whether these matches go ahead or not really isn’t the important thing right now, as our thoughts and prayers are with the nation of Japan, and all those affected by this horrific tragedy.
You can find information on how to help those in need in Japan and elsewhere from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.