By Paul Osborne 

Japan has been suspended by FIBA ©Getty ImagsJapan has been suspended by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) after failing to meet set criteria by last month's deadline.

The Japanese Basketball Association (JBA) had been given until October 31 to meet specific criteria set by FIBA, including merging their two leagues, or face suspension by basketball's world governing body.

Despite handing in an activity report prior to the deadline, FIBA has found the JBA unable to deliver on its requests and therefore suspended the association following its two-day Executive Committee meeting.

The JBA had been under pressure by FIBA for sometime as the governing body pushed to see Japan's two basketball leagues - the bj-league and National Basketball League of Japan - merge into one, which would operate under the JBA and play the game in accordance with the Official Basketball Rules across the country.

FIBA had also requested to see a restructuring of the JBA to ensure it is fully functional under FIBA's General Statutes and for the association to present a concrete sporting plan for both the men's and women's the national teams beyond 2020.

Upon failing to meet these criteria the JBA, therefore, forfeits its rights as a national member federation of FIBA and cannot participate in any activities - sporting or otherwise - of FIBA and FIBA Asia.

Both the men's and women's national teams are barred from participating in any international competition following the JBA suspension ©Getty ImagesBoth the men's and women's national teams are barred from participating in any international competition following the JBA suspension ©Getty Images

"FIBA regrets that the situation has reached such a point of no return," said FIBA secretary general and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann.

"However, we are convinced that after so many years of warnings and struggle, and for the good of basketball in Japan, it is absolutely time to make important changes to the structures of the JBA and of the domestic competitions in order to fully comply with FIBA's General Statutes and also to embrace the opportunity that the 2020 Olympic Games will provide to basketball in Japan.

"We want a successful Tokyo 2020 basketball tournament with the participation of the Japanese men's and women's teams."

Following its decision, FIBA has sent a delegation to Japan to set up a Task Force that will be in charge of guiding the JBA through these difficult times and implement the necessary reforms.

"We believe that basketball has great potential to become one of the leading sports in Japan, especially in view of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics," added Baumann

"It is time to prepare for it without the 'heavy luggage' of past history and failed reforms, but instead with a strong vision toward the future for the benefit of all who love the game.

"We count on all basketball stakeholders to participate in the much-needed reform process that will be led by the Task Force."

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