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Japan will take part in Copa America

The Japan Football Association (JFA) confirmed that it had performed a u-turn on its decision to withdraw from this year's Copa America, reports Sport Business. Japan had pulled out of the July 1-24 tournament in Argentina in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami to hit the country last month, and 2010 FIFA World Cup-winner Spain had been lined up as a potential replacement.

However, JFA general secretary Kozo Tashima told Kyodo: "The JFA decided to participate in the Copa America today. We are in the process of notifying CONMEBOL (the South American football confederation) as we speak."

Tashima added that the decision to play would "show the international community, not simply international football circles, that Japan is hanging on". Organisers of the event had urged the JFA to reconsider its original decision to withdraw from the tournament.

Japan and Mexico are the only two non-South American sides set to play in the tournament. J-League clubs have agreed to co-operate with Japan's participation in the Copa America as long as Europe-based players make up the bulk of the national squad.

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Dave Williams

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