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JFA approves Inukai appointment

Kyodo News

The Japan Football Association on Thursday approved a plan to appoint Motoaki Inukai as the new head of the country’s soccer governing body.

Inukai, 66, will take over from 71-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi, who will leave his post on the expiration of his third two-year term on Saturday.

“I would like to take time to think about what I can do as successor to president Kawabuchi and how I can develop (Japanese soccer),” said Inukai.

“It is going to be a very tough job. It won’t be easy to come up with ideas of how to take Japanese soccer forward,” he added.

Inukai served as Urawa Reds president for four years until 2006, when Reds captured their first J. League title.

JFA vice president Junji Ogura, 69, and J. League chairman Kenji Onitake, 68, were also candidates for the job, but some selection officials argued that they could only serve for one two-year term because of the age limit rule for a JFA president. Inukai will be able to remain at the helm for two terms.

Meanwhile, Kimiko Krumm-Date, one of Japan’s most successful tennis players, and former Japan national rugby team coach Seiji Hirao will join the JFA’s board of directors.