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Japan coach
02/12/2016
Asia
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Japan launch search for new coach after Hasegawa departure

TOKYO (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Japan are looking for a new coach to lead their men's national team following the resignation of boss Kenji Hasegawa.

The Japanese Basketball Association (JBA) had already decided to undergo a "restructuring" of the program as it attempts have a team at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Hasegawa has agreed to move aside.

Former Chorale Roanne and Montenegro national team boss, Luka Pavicevic, is to supervise men's national team activities while the JBA search for Hasegawa's replacement. Pavicevic was appointed as an adviser to the JBA's technical committee last month.

Hasegawa helped create some positive momentum during a difficult time for the sport in the country, with his team's fourth-place finish at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship one of the highlights.

That performance by the men clinched a spot in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Serbia.

In Belgrade, however, Hasegawa's team was overmatched in their games against Latvia and the Czech Republic and crashed to heavy defeats.

The Latvians throttled the Far East side on opening night, 88-48, and Japan then fell to the Czechs, 87-71. Serbia won the OQT and ended up claiming a silver medal at the Olympics.

Tomoya Higashino, who serves as chairman of the JBA technical committee, stressed the positives of Hasegawa's time at the helm in a statement issued by the JBA.

"From here on, we need to take a fresh start toward the world, and Mr. Hasegawa has decided to step down as the head coach of the Japan men's national team." - Higashino

"After coach Hasegawa's appointment as head coach of men's national team in April 2014, he contributed to the development of the men's national team with his great ability.

"He has led the team to third place at the 2014 Asian Games after an interval of 20 years, finished in the top 4 in 2015 FIBA Asia Championship after an interval of 18 years and qualified the team for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and put the Japan men's national team back on the world stage."

The performance by Japan in Belgrade caused the JBA to have a re-think about the program's direction.

"The JBA is not guaranteed participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as the host country and has already begun a restructuring (of the program) and strengthening activities towards the 2019 FIBA World Cup and 2020 and beyond," Higashino said.

"Following the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, we reviewed the development of the men's national team.

"Under such circumstances, we need to demand the best results in every game and propel the development of the men's national team with a mid- to long-term vision. From here on, we need to take a fresh start toward the world, and Mr. Hasegawa has decided to step down as the head coach of the Japan men's national team.

"The JBA deeply appreciate his dedication and efforts and we expect his continuous support in various ways in the future."

For Hasegawa, the opportunity to coach Japan was both a challenge and an honor.

"It was a step-by-step process and I think we were steadily making progress as a team. I would like to thank the entire staff and all the players for great memories." - Hasegawa

"During my term, we were in a tumultuous period including a suspension by FIBA, the beginning of B. League, etc., but I believe I have made a full effort to develop our team," he said.

"We weren't able to reach the goal of participating in the Rio Olympic Games, but we were able to bounce back to a top four finish in FIBA Asia Championship. It was a step-by-step process and I think we were steadily making progress as a team. I would like to thank the entire staff and all the players for great memories.

"Honestly, it is regrettable that I am stepping down from this position before the end of my term, but I have agreed to resign because there is restructuring under a long-term vision towards the 2019 FIBA World Cup, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and beyond."

FIBA