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Japanese football players are to form a labor union to demand better working conditions, including bigger rewards for international duty, the Japan Pro-Footballers Association (JPFA) said Wednesday.


Currently, the 15-year-old JPFA represents some 960 players in Japan and abroad as a fraternal body. JPFA members include Japan and CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda and Japan captain and Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe. The JPFA is also a member of FIFPro. And its secretary general Junichi Takano is a judge in the FIFA DRC.


Recently, FIFPro had advised the JPFA to register itself as a labor union. As a labor union, the JPFA will have the right to collective bargaining and, if necessary, strikes. President Toshiya Fujita said the JPFA hoped to have productive negotiations with the Japan Football Association (JFA) and avoid potential strike action.


At a special JPFA general meeting on Monday February 28, the decision to form a union was made by a majority vote, president Fuyita explained. ‘This step is aimed at having serious discussions about the Japanese football world in the future.’


Lately, the JPFA has been unsuccessfully seeking bigger allowances for footballers who play for the national team since before the World Cup in June and July last year. The JPFA also wants salary guarantees for players who sustain injuries during international games. According to earlier press reports, Japan players receive no appearance money but are given a daily allowance of 10,000 yen (120 dollars, 100 euro) for taking part in an international.