Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint Germain will play three pre-season matches in Japan in July, becoming the first European club to visit the country since 2019. The Qatar-owned outfit announced on Thursday that they will face teams from the J1 League Kawasaki Frontal, Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka July 20, 23 and 25 respectively.

PSG, who won a 10th French title last month, will be the first European club to visit Japan since before the Covid-19 pandemic. The country has largely closed itself over the past two and a half years to visiting teams and sporting events, but is showing increasing signs of opening up. The Olympic Games 2020 were among the events affected by the pandemic, with Tokyo Games postponed for 12 monthswhile the southern city of Fukuoka postponed hosting the world swimming championships this year until 2023. However, Japan continued to host matches in the Asian preliminary rounds for the November World Cup under restrictions strict while the samurai blue qualified for the final in Qatar.

Japan prepare for the 2022 World Cup

The national team will play friendly matches against Paraguay and Brazil in June and will also appear in the Kirin Cupwhich sees the Japanese side joined by Ghana, Chile and Tunisia in a four-team tournament. The East Asian Championships will also take place in Japan in July, with the nation stepping in to host the competition after China relinquished rights to host the regional tournament due to the continued impact of the Covid pandemic. -19.