Junya Ito Japan Asian Cup

FILE – Japan’s Junya Ito is pictured prior the international friendly football match between USA and Japan in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Sept. 23, 2022. Winger Ito has been removed from Japan’s team at the Asian Cup by the Japanese Football Association in the midst of sexual assault allegations that he has denied, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

TOKYO — Junya Ito has been removed from Japan’s squad at the Asian Cup by the Japanese Football Association in the midst of sexual assault allegations that he has denied, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Friday.

Japan is the favorite to win the Asian Cup being played in Qatar and will face Iran in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Ito, a winger, played in all of Japan’s matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He plays for top-tier French club Reims.

Two women allege that Ito sexually assaulted them last year. Local media has reported the case is being investigated in Japan by Osaka police.

“We need to create an environment in which players can concentrate on football. We’ve made the decision thinking about the situation comprehensively,” Kyodo quoted JFA President Kozo Tashima as saying.

Japan has won the Asian Cup a record four times.





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