J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai has congratulated the league for the growth it experienced in 2015, and hopes for even more of the same this year.
The official touched on wide-ranging topics in his New Year’s address, congratulating Sanfrecce Hiroshima for their league title win as well as their third-placed finish at the FIFA Club World Cup in Yokohama.
“Our family of clubs dedicated to making sports enjoyable for everyone has expanded once again, and the J.League’s hometown areas now cover 38 prefectures,” the official stated.
“As we prepare to celebrate the February opening of Suita City Football Stadium, new stadium construction and stadium renovation projects are taking root across the country.
We are working hard in all aspects to make the match day experience more enjoyable for our fans.
“At the end of 2015, Sanfrecce Hiroshima finished in third place at the FIFA Club World Cup. This year, our challenge of developing the J.League continues.
“The J.League Championship, which was introduced to the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League last season, has been revised in its second year for easier understanding.
“One of the challenges Japanese football faces is preparing its players to take on the world. Three Under-23 teams representing J1 and J2 clubs will take part in this year’s MEIJI YASUDA J3 League.
“We are confident that this will provide incredible opportunities for growth to clubs hoping to earn promotion to the J2.
“For the first time in seven years, the J.Satellite League will take place with nine participating clubs.
“I hope that Japan’s Under-23 national team will earn the right to participate in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, giving our young J.League stars a chance to improve even further.”