Japan rethinking Copa America

Japan will rethink its withdrawal from the Copa America following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which disrupted the domestic football calendar, a senior Japanese official said Wednesday.

The Argentina Football Association, which hosts the South American championship in Argentina from July 1, has asked Japan to reconsider its decision to pull-out of the event, Japan Football Association (JFA) vice president Kozo Tashima said.

"The Japanese association for its part has not reached a final conclusion," he said, according to the Jiji Press news agency and other media.

"We will reconsider whether we can send a national team by using our wisdom more than ever."

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Japan beats NKorea for Asian Games football gold – World Soccer

Japan won its first Asian Games women’s football gold medal by beating the defending champion North Koreans 1-0 on Monday in a fiercely contested final.

After a scoreless first half, defender Azusa Iwashimizu broke through with her historic header in the 74th minute, helping her jubilant team claim the Asian Games title.

The disciplined and experienced Japanese, led by U.S.-based midfielders Homare Sawa and Aya Miyama, managed to keep the determined North Koreans from scoring the rest of the game.

The win was retribution for Japan’s 2006 loss to the top-seeded North Koreans in a penalty shootout at the last Asian Games in Doha.

“Four years ago we lost to North Korea in the final. Now we are here, we are four years older and we have a better mentality that helped us win,” Japan captain Aya Miyama said. “As I was listening to our national anthem from the podium, I was more calmed than excited.”

The North Koreans blamed fatigue after a difficult, 2-1 extra time win over South Korea in the semifinals.

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Japan No. 1 in Asian Games Judo

For most countries, winning almost half of the gold medals on offer in any given sport at an international meet would considered a decent result.

When it comes to judo and Japan, where the sport was born and bred, that’s not good enough.

Japan’s judo team narrowly squeezed past South Korea to top the gold medal tally as the Asia Games judo competition closed Tuesday, claiming seven golds to six for the South Korean squad.

Chinese athletes broke the duopoly, taking two victories on the final day, and an Uzbek claimed another.

Japan went into the closing day of the competition evenly matched with South Korea with six gold, two silver and three bronze medals. The final day was a let down for both Japan and South Korea.

“We are going to have to learn from our mistakes here or we will have problems in London,” team official Kazuo Yoshimura said of Japan’s Olympic aspirations in 2012.

via Japan regains No. 1 status in Asian Games judo.

Hakuho’s Sumo Streak Ends Six Short of Record

The end was as sudden as a bolt of lightning.

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho saw his record-chasing streak end at 63 bouts after a stunning defeat to Kisenosato at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Having gone undefeated the past four tournaments, Hakuho was widely expected to match and surpass Futabayama’s record of 69 set from 1936-1939.

But Kisenosato had other ideas in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Hakuho got a slow jump at the faceoff and never really recovered as Kisenosato (1-1) charged forward in a relentless effort before shoving the yokozuna over the edge as the crowd went into a frenzy.

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In Japan, Adoration for Women’s Volleyball

When Yoshie Takeshita of Japan goes up to block spikers 40 centimeters taller than her, she is lifted by an arena full of fans chanting her name and a banner in Japanese telling her, “159 cm is awesome.”

Not known for producing tall women, Japan, which is hosting the women’s world volleyball championships for the second time in a row, is leaping above other nations, at least in terms of media coverage and fan support.

It is not only because Japan will face top-ranked Brazil in the semifinal Saturday in Tokyo, after the Olympic silver medalist, the United States, takes on Russia, which won the 2006 worlds in Osaka, Japan, thanks to its 202-centimeter, or 6 foot 7 inch, spiker, Ekaterina Gamova.

In a country where most students play volleyball in junior and senior high school, Japan has figured out how to mass-market a sport that, though played by millions around the world, rarely garners the global media attention showered on soccer and basketball.

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