Japan confirm Copa America participation

The Japanese Football Association (JFA) has announced its national team will take part in the Copa America 2011, reversing an earlier decision to withdraw from the event in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

JFA vice-president Kozo Tashima 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."

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 J.League.

The Japanese top flight has rescheduled its backlogged fixtures to be played during a break in July, which clashes with the CONMEBOL tournament, in which the Samurai Blue have been invited as non-member guests along with Mexico.

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.

However, 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.