Football: Japan calls off Friday's friendly game against Chile after Hokkaido earthquake

Japan's national football players leave the field after being defeated by South Korea in the final men’s competition of the Asian Games in Bogor, Indonesia, on Sept 1, 2018.
Japan's national football players leave the field after being defeated by South Korea in the final men’s competition of the Asian Games in Bogor, Indonesia, on Sept 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Japan has cancelled Friday's (Sept 7) international friendly with Chile scheduled to be played at the Sapporo Dome after a powerful earthquake struck the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, the country's soccer federation said.

The Japan Football Federation (JFA) said it had taken the decision after considering the magnitude of damage that included widespread power cuts and transportation disruptions, as well as spectator safety.

"Due to the effects of the earthquake, Japan Football Association has decided to cancel the Kirin Challenge Cup 2018 match between Samurai Blue and Chile national team," the JFA said in a statement on Thursday.

The 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake has paralysed Hokkaido, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected in Hokkaido," JFA president Tashima Kohzo added.

The match would have been new head coach Hajime Moriyasu first in charge of the team. Japan are scheduled to play Costa Rica on Sept 11 in Osaka.