JFA to open base in Fukushima for soccer-focused reconstruction aid

10 March 2017

The Japan Football Association and its professional J. League will open a joint “Front Office” in the J-Village soccer training center in Fukushima Prefecture soon, possibly in April, in an effort to strengthen post-disaster reconstruction activities focused on the sport. The national governing body for soccer decided on the “DREAM Fukushima Action Plan” at a board meeting in Tokyo on March 9.

The plan calls for the JFA and J. League to dispatch experts in technical coaching and physical strengthening to elementary, junior and high schools in the prefecture as desired to back up the development of young people. With the full resumption of the J-Village two years later in sight, the plan also envisages new competitions such as under-18 tournaments involving high school students and J. League preseason matches. These activities are intended by the soccer community as a whole to help in the recovery of Fukushima from the 2011 earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The projected joint office will be located inside a women’s dormitory of the JFA Academy Fukushima in the J-Village which, straddling the Naraha and Hirono towns, was used as a forward base for dealing with the nuclear disaster. The office will be staffed by about four people, including full-time employees, from the JFA and other parties concerned.

Office staff will visit municipalities where evacuation orders have been lifted as well as schools and soccer club teams to hear their wishes on the dispatch of instructors and coordinate with them on details such as the desired number of instructors and frequency of visits. For the time being, the expert program will cover disaster-affected areas such as the Futaba region but will be gradually expanded to the entire prefecture. The organizers plan to expand the project to include music and other fields of art as well as sports other than soccer.

(Translated by Kyodo News)