Soccer officials from Japan, Iran and Bahrain will join the Asian Football Confederation’s inspection visit to North Korea ahead of next year’s final-round World Cup qualifiers, Japan Football Association President Saburo Kawabuchi said Friday.

Kawabuchi said the JFA plans to send a member of the support staff for the national team on the AFC tour of Pyongyang, which is scheduled for mid-January prior to the Feb. 9 start of the final round. Kawabuchi added soccer’s world governing body FIFA and the AFC are considering possible countermeasures in case Japan imposes economic sanctions on North Korea over its abductions of Japanese. Japan, Iran, Bahrain and North Korea were drawn into final-round Group B in the draw held by the AFC earlier this month, which also drew South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Kuwait in Group A.

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