Fiba To Lift Japan Ban

FIBA to lift Japan banBasketball’s governing body FIBA held a general board meeting on Friday and agreed on plans to fully lift its sanctions against Japan.
The decision means both the men’s and women’s national teams would be able to represent Japan in qualifiers for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 while also taking part in international warm-up games.

The sanctions are expected to be lifted officially at a general board meeting in Tokyo in August.

A task force set up to reform Japanese basketball presented FIBA’s board with a midterm report that stressed the amount of progress made on three modifications to the sport here: the establishment of a new men’s national league with the unification of the National Basketball League and the bj-League; the reformation of the Japan Basketball Association (JBA); and the increased development of the national team here in Japan.

Saburo Kawabuchi, head of Japan’s task force, held a press conference in Tokyo on Friday and declared the suspension done, and indicated he is ready for Japan to restart its program.

“The sanctions have been completely lifted,” Kawabuchi said. “Starting now, we are OK to participate in international activities.”

If all goes well, the women’s team would be able to take part in Olympic regional qualifiers that start on Aug. 29, while the men would be free to play in qualification rounds that start on Sept. 23 — both in China.

“Until now, we haven’t even been able to discuss playing games on an international level, but we can now engage in such talks immediately,” Kawabuchi said with a look of relief.

Likely candidates to play on both the men’s and women’s national teams are moving ahead with preparations for their respective qualifiers.