RESENDING WITH UPDATED SCRIPT VIDEO SHOWS: EXTERIORS OF JAPANESE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (JFA) HEADQUARTERS, FILE FOOTAGE OF TOKYO'S NATIONAL STADIUM, SAPPORO DOME AND KOBE'S MISAKI STADIUM, SOME OF THE VENUES IN JAPAN'S BID TO HOST THE 2023 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP BID / FILE FOOTAGE OF JAPAN WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM TRAINING SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - MAY 21, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
EXTERIOR OF JAPANESE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION HEADQUARTERS 2.
VARIOUS OF JFA LOGO 3.
JAPAN SHIRT IN SHOWCASE WITH THE WORD "DREAM" ALONGSIDE TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 4.
VARIOUS OF OLYMPIC RINGS OUTSIDE NATIONAL STADIUM, SET TO HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE VENUES IN JAPAN 2023 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP BID 5.
VARIOUS INTERIORS OF NATIONAL STADIUM SAPPORO, JAPAN (FILE - APRIL 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 6.
VARIOUS OF SAPPORO DOME, SET TO HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE VENUES IN JAPAN 2023 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP BID KOBE, JAPAN (FILE - APRIL 2, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 6.
VARIOUS OF KOBE MISAKI STADIUM, SET TO HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE VENUES IN JAPAN 2023 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP BID VANCOUVER, CANADA (FILE - JULY 4, 2015) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 7.
VARIOUS OF JAPAN WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM TRAINING STORY: The Japanese Football Association announced on Monday (June 22) that Japan is withdrawing its bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup, just days before football's world governing body holds a vote to determine the successful candidate.
Following an executive board meeting on Monday, the JFA withdrew its candidacy and decided to support the Australia/New Zealand bid which will go up against a bid from Colombia.
Earlier this month, FIFA rated the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the best to host the tournament, with Japan in second place.
The JFA said a key factor behind their decision was losing the support of the Southeast Asian ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), who have publicly said they would support the Australia/New Zealand bid.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games now being delayed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the JFA said they found it unlikely one country would be awarded women's soccer's two biggest tournaments back-to-back.
JFA chairman Kozo Tashima left the door open for another bid in the future.
Japan's withdrawal leaves the Australia/New Zealand bid in pole position ahead of Thursday's vote.
Like Australia, Japan is a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) so it is likely that AFC votes previously shared between the competing bids will now go to Australia/New Zealand.
Japan has never staged the Women's World Cup but co-hosted the men's event in 2002 with neighbours South Korea.
The Japanese women's team won the World Cup in 2011, shocking favourites the United States in the final.
The 2019 tournament in France broke records in terms of television audiences and was seen as the most high-profile edition so far.
(Production: Jack Tarrant)
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