• Kyodo News

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Japan’s first match of the season scheduled in March against South Korea has been canceled, Japan Football Association executive director Kozo Tashima said Wednesday.

Tashima said the South Korean side has decided not to play the friendly, which was scheduled to take place at Nissan Stadium on March 24, but did not specify the reason.

The JFA said it will look for a replacement for South Korea, but the choices are limited as FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, reserves the same day for several fixtures involving countries for the next round of qualifiers for the European and African Championships.

According to Yonhap News, South Korea has decided not to play Japan since it will face Asian teams several times this season at the Asian Cup in July and wishes to hold friendlies against other strong non-Asian opponents.

Japan’s last game was a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia on Nov. 15, 2006, in Sapporo in their final Asian Cup qualifier.

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