“Legal situation to be seen”…’Sex crime suspect’ Junya Ito suspended from Japan national team → Team also releases statement

Junya Ito has left the Japanese national team after being accused of sexual assault. His club, Stade de Reims, also released a statement.

The Japan Football Association announced on its official website on Jan. 1 (KST), “We would like to announce that Junya Ito has left the Japan National Team squad for the Asian Cup in Qatar. Furthermore, there will be no call-up of a replacement for Ito.

The JFA said, “Regarding some of the reports about Ito, the JFA understands that the parties have different claims about the facts being reported and believes that a careful response is required. The JFA has considered Ito’s physical and mental condition and has decided to leave the team. We apologize to the 현금홀덤사이트 Japanese national team and the many fans who have supported Ito for causing concern.

Ito has been in the news recently for sexual assault allegations that were made public in the Japanese media. In June of last year, Ito was accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met at a restaurant in Osaka after an A-match against Peru, according to the Japanese daily Shinjo. The alleged victim claimed that Ito got her drunk and took her back to his hotel, during which time there was no consent. Along with allegations of consent on Ito’s part, the women have apparently filed formal charges against him.

Ito has now also filed a counterclaim against the women. “Ito’s representative filed a complaint with the Osaka Police Department against the women for false accusations, saying there was no sexual assault,” Japan’s Sportshochi reported.

Ito’s departure from the national team had already been signaled. According to Sportshochi, “In training ahead of the match against Iran, Ito did not take part in training, but instead stayed at the hostel to adjust his condition. At the time, a representative from the team explained before the training that Ito’s departure was unlikely, but two hours later, he abruptly announced his departure. Japan was caught off guard by the departure of a key player just two days before their match against Iran.

It was a quick decision for Japan. Ito, who is now facing charges, has been a regular on the Japanese national team since 2017. Ito has already played 54 games for the national team, scoring 13 goals.

While he is yet to score at this year’s Asian Cup, he has had some great performances in the past, including a four-assist performance against Syria in November 2023 in the Asian second round qualifier for the 2026 North American World Cup. At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it was his second goal of the tournament that sealed Japan’s 2-1 victory over Spain in their final group game. It’s clear that the Japanese national team didn’t take Ito’s decision to leave the team lightly.

Ito’s club, Reims, released a statement shortly after Japan’s announcement.

‘Reims has taken note of the statements made regarding Ito and the defamation complaint filed by the player. Ito’s human qualities and behavior at the club should never be questioned. While the investigation is ongoing following the media reports, Reims has no information to support the investigation. At this stage, the club will demonstrate its solidarity with the player and will therefore clarify the facts as alleged, follow the development of the legal situation with great interest and await further details.

“We cannot ignore such an important topic and do not want to remain silent,” the statement added.

Ito is a striker for the Japanese national team and a regular for Reims. He joined Reims ahead of the 2022-2023 season, having been recognized for his performances for the Belgian side. Ito burst onto the French scene in the wake of Hugo Ekitiike’s departure from Reims to join PSG.

Possessing quick feet and the ability to break through, Ito had a slow start to the league last season. In 35 league appearances, he scored six goals and provided five assists, starting every game. Since adjusting, he has been consistent. Starting all 17 league games this season, Ito has become an integral part of Reims’ attack, scoring two goals and adding four assists.

He and PSG’s Lee Kang-in played a mini-Japan-Korea match last November. At the time, the Ligue 1 secretariat released a poster featuring Lee and Ito on their official social media accounts, highlighting the matchup under the flags of Korea and Japan. The matchday poster showed the importance of the two players on both teams and the level of interest in them.

In the end, Ito’s performance stood out, but it was Lee’s club, PSG, who came away with the win. Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick in the third minute of the first half, followed by goals in the 14th and 37th minutes of the second half, and PSG demolished Reims. Ito played the full game and scored in the first half with a brilliant move, only to have his goal disallowed after his teammate was shown to be offside. Lee Kang-in, on the other hand, was a bit lackluster in terms of direct offense despite his minutes. Ito’s departure means we won’t see a rematch between the two players in the final, even if South Korea and Japan meet.

The Japanese national team has decided to send their star attacker back to Japan. It will be interesting to see how Japan’s decision will affect the rest of the tournament.