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J3 League or simply J3 is the third division of Japan Professional Football League, which has since 2014 founded a football league of the third division in Japan.
The third-rate nationwide league is a relatively recent development in Japanese football with the first attempt from 1992 (second division side of the old JFL), although it only lasted two seasons. In 1999, after the founding of the J2 League, a new Japanese Football League was founded, which applies from the third league. Following the introduction of J3, the JFL has risen to the fourth-rate nationwide league for the first time in the history of Japanese football.
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The league is known for its title sponsor, the Meiji Yasuda J3 League.
Towards the end of the 2012 football season, the Japanese media spread rumors about the upcoming third division professional league called "J3" or "J.Challenge League". Most sources agreed that the new league will comprise about 10 to 12 clubs, most of which will be associate members. The league would also offer looser licensing criteria compared to J2 - eg. The stadium capacity of only 3,000 places without prescribed floodlighting.
After discussing the J1-J2 committee on January 16, 2013, all J.League clubs agreed in principle to a new league facility from 2014 onwards. This decision was formally enacted on February 26 by the J.League Council. It was planned to start the league with 10 teams, but another meeting of the J.League Council in July decided that the opening season of J3 will include 12 teams.
To participate, a club must have associate membership or apply before June 30, 2013, and then pass an exam to obtain a participation license issued by the J.League Council. On November 19th, J.League confirmed the participation of the following clubs in the opening season J3.
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