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Saburo Kawabuchi, chairman of the Japan Football Association, said Saturday the national team’s soccer friendlies in North America scheduled for next month are to be canceled regardless of whether the United States goes to war with Iraq.

“Even if no war breaks out, there is no telling how things will develop and it’s not worth taking unnecessary risks,” said Kawabuchi, who arrived in Japan with national team coach Zico after attending Wednesday’s draw for the 2003 Confederations Cup in Paris.

Japan was due to play Uruguay in San Jose, California, on March 26 and then travel to Seattle to face the U.S. three days later.

“It would have been ideal to play away, but it’s not an absolute must,” said Kawabuchi, adding that the JFA is to arrange two home friendlies for March 26 and 29.

The JFA also plans to invite Argentina to play in the Kirin Cup in June and is hoping to stage a home fixture against France, the winners of the 1998 World Cup and defending European champions, next year.

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