• Kyodo

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Two-time World Cup goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima has spoken of his relief at being on the verge of joining Dundee United following a breakthrough in securing his work permit.

“I feel like my face is finally out above the surface of the ocean and I can breathe,” Kawashima told reporters after arriving home at Narita airport on Friday.

“I’ve got a sense of direction and am finally back on the starting line,” said the 32-year-old.

Kawashima agreed to join the struggling Scottish Premier League side early last month, but has been made to wait to over the visa issue.

The 72-time capped Japan international left Belgian side Standard Liege at the end of last season and had been seeking a new club in Europe.

Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic dropped Kawashima from the national squad for the World Cup Asian qualifiers in August, citing his failure to find a new club, and has not called up him up since.

Asked about the prospect of returning to the national team fold, Kawashima said, “The national team has given me moral support when times have been tough.”

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