Global expansion for Asia

Past Relations with Asian Countries

J.LEAGUE has been engaged in exchanges with Asian countries with an eye to the development of Asian football

Even before J.LEAGUE launched its full-scale Asian strategy in 2012, it held the “A3 Champions Cup” (2003-06), in which the champion teams of each league played against the neighboring Chinese C.LEAGUE and Korean K.LEAGUE, and the all-star teams of the J.LEAGUE and K.LEAGUE played against each other (2008, 2009), with the aim of improving the level of competition and friendly rivalry among the countries. All-star teams from J.LEAGUE and K.LEAGUE (2008, 2009).

By holding these tournaments, we have been able to promote exchanges among league and club officials, share information and know-how, and promote exchanges that go beyond the competition.

J Clubs have also promoted exchanges on its own, such as the participation in the Singapore S.LEAGUE by Albirex Niigata’s team “Albirex Niigata Singapore” in 2004, and the holding of the “Urawa Reds Heartful Club in Asia” as a promotion activity conducted by Urawa Reds in Asian countries.

Raising the Level of Asian Football

At present, European countries such as England, Spain, and Germany dominate the market, and in terms of competition, South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina, in addition to Europe, reign supreme in world football.

J.LEAGUE believes that improving the level of Japanese football alone will not be enough for Asian countries, including Japan, to catch up with the world’s top level and achieve good results on the international stage, including the FIFA World Cup.

J.LEAGUE will be able to improve its competition level by acquiring excellent players from Asian countries and expanding their activities in J.LEAGUE; players from Asian countries who are active in J.LEAGUE will be able to play for their national teams and become strong rivals, which will lead to the improvement of the Japanese national team. In addition, by having Asian players play in J.LEAGUE, the J.LEAGUE will attract the attention of Asia and expand the market for J.LEAGUE and Asian football.

In order to achieve these goals, the number of foreign players registered for each team has been expanded since 2009, and in addition to the three foreign players quota, an “”Asian quota”” has been established to allow one player from a member country of the Asian Football Confederation to be registered.

Contributing to Asian Football Expand the Asian Market

J.LEAGUE believes that the creation of a large market for professional football in Asia and the positioning of J.LEAGUE at the center of this market will enable Japan to become a football powerhouse with a different style of football from that of Europe, both in terms of competition and business.

In order to achieve this, it is essential to solidify J.LEAGUE’s position in Asian countries and create new business opportunities for partners and J Clubs.

In order to achieve these goals, J.LEAGUE has been working since 2012 to expand the exposure of J.LEAGUE in Asian countries through television broadcasting, share the know-how that J.LEAGUE has cultivated with Asian countries, hold local football clinics and events, and conclude partnership agreements with the ASEAN (Association of East Asian Nations) leagues.

In addition, J.LEAGUE has proposed that J.LEAGUE be positioned as one of the “”Japan Brands”” as a Japanese industry that can be exported to the world from the field of sports, and has been working with the “”Cool Japan Strategy”” undertaken by the Ministry of Economy, and also the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan Foundation, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), and other organizations. The goal is to create new business opportunities and contribute to the development of the Japanese economy. In order to carry out these goals, the “”Asia Office”” has been established within J.LEAGUE to develop new business opportunities for J.LEAGUE, J Clubs and partners.

About J.LEAGUE Asian Strategy

In 2012, the Asian Strategy Office (currently known as the Asia Office) was established within J.LEAGUE. J.LEAGUE will take the lead in promoting the improvement of the level of football in Asia as a whole, aiming to increase the value of Asia in the global football market. It also aims to increase the presence of J.LEAGUE within Asia, create new business opportunities for partners, leagues and clubs, and maximize resources within Asia in the future.

About Conclusion of Partnership Agreements with Leagues in Asian Countries

J.LEAGUE has been strengthening its ties with Asian countries, starting with the conclusion of a partnership agreement with the Thai Premier League (February 2012). As of January 2015, J.LEAGUE has concluded partnership agreements with seven countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Iran.

This is the first time for J.LEAGUE to conclude a partnership agreement with an overseas league, and the purpose of the agreement is to exchange information necessary for the mutual development of football and the league, and to implement various initiatives that will lead to the improvement of the competitive power of the countries concerned and the upgrading of Asian football.

About the J.LEAGUE Asia Ambassadors

J.LEAGUE has created the J.LEAGUE Asia Ambassadors, and appointed Masao Kiba and Yoshiaki Maruyama, former J.LEAGUE players who have played in Thailand, and Kazuyoshi Tabe (deceased), who has extensive experience in managing clubs in Japan and overseas.

In addition, Tsubasa Ozora, the main character of “Captain Tsubasa,” which is popular among football fans around the world, has been appointed as the J.LEAGUE Asia Ambassador. (Term of office: May 2013 to the end of April 2015)

Role of the J.LEAGUE Asia Ambassador

  • The role of the J.LEAGUE Asia Ambassador is to communicate the philosophy of the J.LEAGUE Asian Strategy to as many people as possible, not only in Japan but also in other Asian countries.
  • Participate in activities in Asian countries with the goal of improving the level of football in Asia as a whole.
    (Press conferences, football clinics/schools, academy generation competitions, etc.)

Activities by J Clubs in Asian Countries

Following the activities of the J.LEAGUE, J Clubs are also becoming more active in Asian countries.

In 2012, Okayama and Fukuoka participated in matches in Myanmar and Vietnam, respectively, as part of the J.LEAGUE’s activities.

C-Osaka and Kobe U-15 teams held camps in Thailand, in 2013, Shonan, Iwata, Nagoya, and C-Osaka also held camps in Thailand, and C-Osaka and Kashima participated in matches in Vietnam.

In 2014, C-Osaka played a friendly match against the Myanmar national team in Myanmar.

In January 2015, G-Osaka held a friendly match in Indonesia, and other clubs are expanding their own activities in Asian countries.

In addition, as of January 2015, seven J clubs (Sapporo, Shimizu, Iwata, C-Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama FM, and FC Ryukyu) have formed inter-club partnerships with clubs in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Malaysia.