The Japanese Basketball Association (JBA) have been rewarded by the International Basketball Association’s (FIBA) for making progress in restricting the organisation by allowing their national teams to resume preparations for all competitions.
The JBA were suspended in November 2014 having failed to meet criteria set by the FIBA by a deadline on October 31, which would have included seeing Japan's two basketball leagues - the bj-league and National Basketball League of Japan - merge into one.
Both leagues have co-existed alongside each other, but the split has created several issues, including a drop in ticket sales, audience figures and the standard of the sport slipping as a result.
Following their decision to suspend the JBA, a Task Force was established by the FIBA to guide the Japanese national governing body and help with the implementation of necessary reforms.
The FIBA Executive Committee met with the Japan 2024 Task Force yesterday and today to determine the progress of the JBA in addressing the issues raised and received an intermediary report on the current state of affairs.
Headed by co-chairmen Ingo Weiss of Germany and Japan's Saburo Kawabuchi the Task Force, consisting of 10 members and two observers have been working since January to tackle the three key issues identified by the FIBA that required solving before the suspension could be lifted.
In addition to the problems surrounding their top domestic league, restructuring the JBA and the Association presenting a concrete sporting plan for both the men's and women's the national teams beyond 2020 were deemed major areas to tackle.
Following the two-day meeting the FIBA Executive Committee agreed to allow the Japanese national teams to continue to prepare for competitions such as the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship and FIBA Women’s Asia Championship, including being able to play international friendlies at home and abroad.
A final report will be presented to the FIBA Central Board at a meeting in Tokyo from August 7 to 9 where the decision will be made on whether or not to lift the suspension.
Japan’s suspension had placed their national team’s participation at Tokyo 2020 into doubt but the FIBA believe the changes would help the JBA take advantage of the benefits Olympic basketball would give to the country.
November 2014: Japan handed suspension by International Basketball Federation
November 2014: Japan avoid suspension from international basketball despite missing league merger deadline as activity report reviewed
September 2014: Exclusive: Japan given October deadline to resolve basketball row or risk missing Tokyo 2020
December 2013: FIBA chief warns Japan they might miss out on automatic place at Tokyo 2020 unless problems resolved