Avispa Fukuoka's seemingly inevitable relegation to J. League Division Two was confirmed today after they suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Albirex Niigata.
The defeat left Fukuoka 14 points adrift of 15th-placed Urawa Reds and safety with only four matches left in the season.
Fukuoka had to win to keep their slim survival hopes alive and avoid an immediate return to the second tier but the visitors found themselves trailing after just two minutes when Isao Homma slotted home a Cho Young-Cheol pass.
South Korea international Cho then added two more goals in the 64th and 82nd minutes to increase Niigata's lead.
Fukuoka pulled a goal back two minutes from time through substitute Yutaka Takahashi, but that was too little too late to save the club's top-flight status.
For Niigata, the victory was their third on the trot and lifts them up two spots to 11th.
Ventforet Kofu are still in serious relegation trouble of their own after slumping to a 3-0 defeat at Shimizu S-Pulse, whose goals came from Toshiyuki Takagi, Shinji Ono and Genki Omae.
The result sees Kofu slip into the relegation zone on 30 points, two behind Urawa.
In Suday's other game, Cerezo Osaka won 4-0 at Jubilo Iwata to move into the top 10 with Japan U-22 midfielder Takahiro Ogihara netting two of the goals and Shu Kurata and Ryuji Bando scoring the others.