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Japan basketball looking to soccer as model of reform

February 12, 2015

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball is taking a cue from soccer to get reinstated by the International Basketball Federation.

FIBA suspended the Japan Basketball Association in November over a failure to merge the 22-team Basketball Japan League and the 13-team National Basketball League, a violation of its general statutes.

The move could prevent Japan’s national teams from taking part in the Olympics and other international competitions.

Japanese basketball officials appointed former Japan Football Association head Saburo Kawabuchi to head a reform task force aimed at getting the ban lifted.

A new structure based on the successful J-League soccer format is being considered and could be introduced as early as May.

Teams would be divided among a first division, a second division and regional leagues for the 2016 season, Kawabuchi said Thursday.

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