• Kyodo


New Japan Football Association president Kozo Tashima vowed to achieve his organization’s midterm goal of reaching the World Cup semifinals by 2030 when he officially took office on Sunday.

The 58-year-old, who won the presidential election at the end of January when he was vice president, replaced Kuniya Daini on a two-year term.

The new regime sees former national team coach Takeshi Okada, who took charge at the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, assuming the vice president role, and former Gamba Osaka manager Akira Nishino, who has the most managing wins in Japan top-flight history, as the technical director.

“We’ll work to change Japanese soccer for good. There’s no time to lose,” Tashima told a press conference.

Tashima, who also set his sight on winning medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, put emphasis on development of players and coaches for both men and women.

Nishino said the new scheme will focus on the “world standard” in strengthening the national side. To do so, he will visit the top nations and clubs to see how they nurture and develop players and teams.

“We will incorporate knowledge of world standards in Japanese soccer and draw out our own distinctiveness,” he said.

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