The Japan Football Association on Thursday adopted an action plan that focuses on helping Fukushima Prefecture continue its recovery from the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.
The prefecture is home to the J-Village soccer training center, which has been used as the forward base for dealing with the tsunami-triggered accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant but will end its services at the end of March.
At a board meeting in Tokyo, the national governing body for soccer decided to set up its and the J. League’s branch office where board meetings of the two bodies will take place and events like under-18 tournaments and J. League preseason matches will be held.
The JFA will also draw up a plan to reopen the JFA Academy’s Fukushima school locally to promote player development.
J-Village, straddling Naraha and Hirono towns, opened in 1997 as the first national training center in Japan.
JFA Academy Fukushima was established on the village premises in 2006 to train secondary school students, but it was temporarily relocated to Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture as the entire facility was turned into the base after the disasters struck six years ago.
Moves toward resuming soccer-related functions at the village heightened four years ago when Tokyo was chosen as host of the 2020 Summer Games.
“The big push forward came at a good timing,” says Eiji Ueda, JFA executive and vice president of the company that operates J-Village.
The plan to restore the village to a soccer center took shape with an eye on the Tokyo Olympics, and the facility was formally chosen to be the training center for the Japan men’s and women’s national soccer teams before the 2020 Games.