Earlier this week we reported that the JFA had confirmed Japan’s withdrawal from the Copa America. However, over the last 48 hours quotes have appeared suggesting that the decision may be reversed. If so, Japan would take part as guests in the tournament, and the UFWC title match against Colombia on 2 July would be back on.
As we reported, JFA President Junji Ogura travelled to Paraguay to meet with Conmebol and, after discussing the current situation in Japan, where suspended domestic J-League fixtures are due to be played in July, both parties agreed that Japan should not participate.
However, the Copa America organising committee has subsequently asked Japan to reconsider. Jose Luis Meiszner, president of the committee, has stated that Japan has until 15 April to make a final decision.
JFA vice president Kozo Tashima said, ‘The Japanese association for its part has not reached a final conclusion. We will reconsider whether we can send a national team by using our wisdom more than ever. It won’t be easy to reach a conclusion. We could either withdraw or go.’
To further complicate matters, there is now another party involved. After being informed of Japan’s withdrawal, Conmebol quickly sent an invitation to Spain requesting that the official world champions replace the unofficial world champions as guest participants. However, pending Japan’s final decision, Spain’s invite has apparently been withdrawn.
So will Japan participate in the Copa America? Will the UFWC title be contested at the tournament? Will the next UFWC title match be Japan vs Colombia on 2 July? We should find out by next Friday.