Japan will not participate in this summer's Copa America, sources have confirmed to FOX Deportes' Juan Carlos Aguero. In their place, Costa Rica will fill one of the tournament's two non-CONMEBOL spots.
An official announcement is expected on Friday.
Japan's participation in the tournament had been in doubt after a March earthquake devastated the nation. In the weeks that followed, Japan's participation in the tournament came into doubt, with Spain offered the Samurai Blue's spot should Japan be unable to play in South America's championship.
Japan's top domestic competition, the J-League, rescheduled a month's worth of matches in the wake of the earthquake. As a result of rescheduling, it is no longer guaranteed Japan's top J-League talents will be available for the tournament.
Because the CONMEBOL championship is not an official competition for the Asian confederation (ACF), clubs in Japan (as well as Europe) may not be required to release players for Copa. As a result, it is uncertain whether Japan would be able to assemble a representative team.
In April, Japan had affirmed its commitment to the tournament, but sources close to Aguero have confirmed that Japan will not participate in the competition, scheduled to kick off in Argentina on July 1.
Mexico and Costa Rica are the only nations outside the South American confederation participating in CONMEBOL's championship. The Ticos' first match would be July 2 in Jujuy against Bolivia.
This will be Costa Rica's fourth appearance in Copa America, having made the quarterfinals in both 2001 and 2004.