Japanese Non-league Football News

Tohoku League Team Profile - NEC Tokin
It was on 1st April 2002 that the Tokin Corporation joined forces with the Nippon Electric Company (NEC) and as a by-product of another Japanese corporate merger, the NEC Tokin football team were born. At that time Tokin were well-established members of the Tohoku League Division 1, although in fact their competitive history can be traced back as far as 1955, when they began participating in the Sendai Industrial League.

Tokin first became known on a wider stage with their promotion to the Tohoku League in 1994. This was a period when virtually all the teams in the region were trailing in the wake of Sony Sendai, but after an initial struggle to acclimatise, the newcomers began making gradual season-on-season improvements.

When Sony were promoted to the JFL at the end of 1997, there were a good number of clubs ready and waiting to step into the void left by their departure. TDK, Matsushima Club and Morioka Zebra undoubtedly felt that they were in a position to become the top side in Tohoku, but to the surprise of most it was Tokin – ironically, another company team from Sendai – who pipped Zebra to take the 1998 title.

Appearing for the first time in the Regional League Championship Winners’ Play-off, Tokin were scarcely a match for First Round opponents Yokogawa Electric and Blaze Kumamoto, and were immediately knocked out. Back at Regional level the following year, however, they proved that their 1998 championship was no fluke by winning the Tohoku League again in dramatic style, the victory being confirmed with defeats of TDK and Zebra in the final two fixtures.

The 1999 Championship Winners’ Play-offs were a further small illustration of how much lower the standard was of football in Tohoku than in certain other areas of Japan. Tokin again ended up bottom of their First Round group, out of which Alo’s Hokuriku from the Hokushinetsu region went on to win a place in the JFL. Even so, having also taken part in the All-Japan Shakaijin for what was only the second occasion, 1999 goes down as the high point in the club’s history to date.

Following on from the 2002 merger, NEC Tokin have been a team of mid-table stability, only really struggling in 2005, when the whole focus of the Tohoku League was on the battle at the top between TDK and Grulla Morioka. 2006 saw the club get the better of FC Primeiro and Wiese Shiogama to emerge as one of the stronger members of the division.

2007: Will be one of the teams who feel that a good season may result in them being able to grab second position and a place in the Championship Winners’ Play-off competition.

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