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Defender Morioka joins Kyoto

Kyodo

Former Japan defender Ryuzo Morioka has joined relegated Kyoto Purple Sanga from Shimizu S-Pulse, Kyoto officials said Thursday.

The 31-year-old Morioka, who has been given a one-year deal effective from Feb. 1, joined Shimizu from Kashima Antlers and has made 278 appearances in Japan’s top flight.

Capped 38 times by his country, Morioka was a member of Japan’s 2002 World Cup squad but his tournament was cut short after he suffered an ankle injury in Japan’s opening 2-2 draw with Belgium.

He becomes the second former Japan international in as many days to move to Kyoto after veteran stopper Yutaka Akita joined the club on a one-year contract after being deemed surplus to requirements at Nagoya Grampus Eight.