This month’s remaining J.League games have been postponed in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit the north east of Japan last week.
The matches affected are 19 in Division One and Division Two this coming weekend, a full programme on March 19 and 20, and Division Two’s ten games scheduled for March 26 and 27.
The J.League Cup, set to kick-off on Wednesday, has also been postponed.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the north-east coastline of the country forced the postponement of last weekend’s league games and this week’s Asian Champions League games involving Kashima Antlers and Nagoya Grampus.
“Things are very serious right now,” J.League chairman Kazumi Ohigashi said.
“With the aftershocks continuing and (us being) unable to guarantee complete safety at all the stadiums, the J.League has made the decision to cancel all J1, J2 and Nabisco (League) Cup matches for the rest of March.
“The J.League, Nabisco Cup fixtures are tight as it is. We have no choice but to play games in July. The plan is to play the existing number of J.League and Nabisco Cup games, and to do that we have to play during the Copa America.”
Ohigashi said he spoke with Vegalta Sendai President Yoichi Shirohata, who told him that the club was unable to function at the moment.
“He said the clubhouse and the stadium were in ruins,” Ohigashi said. “Needless to say, the players aren’t training. The foreign players have gone home and some of the players from Kansai have gone back, too.
“They’re struggling to live over there. It’s not about training or the game.”
On Sunday, Japan Football Association (JFA) general secretary Kozo Tashima confirmed friendly internationals against Montenegro on March 25 at the Shizuoka Stadium, southwest of Tokyo, and New Zealand in the capital four days later would go ahead.
“The matches are still two weeks away and we need to send a message to the rest of the world,” Tashima said.