The Japan Football Association on Friday announced the withdrawal of winger Junya Ito from its Asian Cup squad in Qatar amid sexual assault allegations, which he has denied.

The JFA initially said Thursday the Stade de Reims player was leaving as the issue "demands a cautious response" and out of consideration for his mental and physical condition. However, the JFA later said his departure was put on hold ahead of further discussions on Friday after many players voiced their hopes of playing with Ito.

Two women have filed a criminal complaint to Osaka police that Ito sexually assaulted them last June, but his lawyer said the player has denied their claims and has filed a criminal complaint for their false allegations.