Japan's soccer chief has vowed to bid for the World Cup finals in 2018 or 2022, despite Tokyo's candidacy to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, press reports said Monday.
"We want to go for it," Football Association president Motoaki Inukai was quoted as saying on FIFA's weekend decision to hold simultaneous bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Japan co-hosted the 2002 finals with neighboring South Korea.
FIFA, the world's football governing body, last year abolished a system under which the host nation of the four-yearly premier football event was rotated among six continents.
"That means everybody is welcome to bid and Japan is expected to do so," Inukai said on the sidelines of the Club World Cup final in Yokohama.
"If Tokyo hosts the Olympics, it will help upgrade stadiums and training centers," Inukai added. Tokyo's National Stadium, which hosted some Club World Cup matches, and other major venues in Japan would need upgrades for World Cup matches.
Inukai said his association would make a final decision on its World Cup bid after September next year when the International Olympic Committee picks the 2016 Olympic host among Tokyo, Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.
The 2018 and 2022 World Cup venues will be decided in December 2010.
Inukai earlier said that a World Cup bid would in no way hamper Tokyo's hopes of a second Summer Olympics. It hosted the 1964 Games.
"The Olympics and the World Cup are totally different," Inukai said last week. "Some people may say it will be too much if Japan hosts both. But Japan has merits. Japan is safe and spectators are well-mannered."
FIFA made the decision on the simultaneous bidding at a meeting here on Saturday.
It means that should a bidder for 2018 be unsuccessful then they would be able to enter the vote for 2022 to be held immediately afterwards, so long as the 2018 hosts are not from the same continent.
The bidding is open to everyone, although African and South American countries are not allowed to enter in 2018 as those continents will have held the World Cup in 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (Brazil).© Wire reports