The Australia national team moved closer to competing in next year's East Asian Cup as the Japan Football Association appeared positive of their request to join the regional competition.
The participation of the Socceroos in the tournament, which will take place next July in China, was discussed last month at a meeting of the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) Executive Committee. Members of the committee said at the time that Australia's inclusion would add to the "competitiveness and promotional aspects" of the competition.
The proposal was also discussed at a Thursday meeting of the Japan Football Association's board of directors, whose members appeared eager to approve another opportunity for the Samurai Blue to face their recent rivals.
"We have to think of how it would affect the marketing and administration of the tournament," JFA vice president Kozo Tashima told reporters, "But [Australia's presence] would certainly raise the level of competition, so we want to include them as soon as possible."
The final decision will be made this year by the EAFF. China won the previous edition of the tournament, which was held in Tokyo in 2010.