A quake measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale struck the central-eastern part of the Iburi region in Hokkaido at around 3:08 on Thursday morning, around 40 miles south of Sapporo, where the fixture was slated to take place. Eight people are reported to have died, according to local media, while there are around 40 currently missing.
After the Japan Football Associated (JFA) were rapidly able to establish that all the players and staff were safe, they took a decision to call the game off due to the situation of the stricken area.
“On behalf of Japan Football Association, I send my deepest condolences and sincerest sympathies to those affected by the powerful earthquake that struck the central-eastern part of Iburi region in Hokkaido early this morning,” JFA president Tashima Kohzo said in a statement.
“While we have yet to confirm the full picture and magnitude of the damages suffered, there are reports on large-scale landslides and power outages, and the entire region is still under an unpredictable condition. Please stay safe and take all possible measures to prevent secondary damages. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected in Hokkaido.”
Japan is currently reeling from a deadly typhoon, the strongest in 25 years, that struck the west of the country last week, killing at least 10 people.
The match, meanwhile, was planned to be the first led by coach Hajime Moriyasu, following a World Cup campaign in which the Samurai Blue reached the last 16 only to be knocked out dramatically by Belgium, having led the Red Devils 2-0 at one stage.