(WFI) This weekend's J.League program is postponed after the seventh largest earthquake in history struck Japan on Friday.
A total of 19 games split between its first and second divisions are taking the backseat in the wake of an 8.9-magnitude tremor and subsequent tsunami that swept cars, houses and debris miles inland.
"I have been following with sadness the news of the terrible tragedy in your country and I would like to express my deep sympathy to the people of Japan," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a message sent to Japanese FA president and FIFA Ex-Co member Junji Ogura.
“On behalf of FIFA, I wish to extend our moral support and to let you know that our thoughts are with the victims, the injured and their families".
The massive quake struck about 140km off the northeast coast of Japan, about 500 km from Tokyo. More than 200 have already been found dead, and damage and property loss will easily run into the billions despite Japan’s earthquake preparation.
Yasuhiro Nakamori, international relations director for the Japanese Olympic Committee, tells INSIDER the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo has escaped unscathed along with other venues from the 1964 Summer Games.
The 57,000-capacity stadium was used for ceremonies and athletics during the Olympics but today hosts the Japanese national team’s home fixtures as well as the finals of the J.League Cup, Emperor’s Cup and other major soccer competitions.
This weekend was to be the year’s second slate of J.League games after the 2011 season kicked off last weekend.
Four J.League clubs – Gamba Osaka, Nagoya Grampus, Cerezo Osaka and Kashima Antlers – also have AFC Champions League matches slated for Tuesday and Wednesday. No word yet on whether the matches will go on as planned.
Exhibition baseball games in Tokyo, Chiba and Yokohama were also called off after Friday’s quake.