With one game remaining, it is still hard to see who in J1 will join Sapporo in J2 next year. Prime candidates are JEF United who would form a new East Kanto derby with Mito, but other Kanto sides Tokyo Verdy and Jubilo Iwata just above on the table. It seems very likely that one of these teams will be directly relegated and one more will be in the very last J. League playoff before the series is scrapped next year. That team will likely face a fairly tough fight against the J2 third place squad. I can see Iwata or JEF holding their own in that situation, though.
Montedio Yamagata secured promotion and will join Hiroshima in 2009's J1, where they will be ruthlessly destroyed on a regular basis. Third place will go to Sendai, Shonan, or Osaka, although Sendai can secure 3rd with only a draw.
Tochigi SC and Kataller Toyama had already secured promotion to J2, and in the last JFL game yesterday Fagiano Okayama (the last team for Mito's Kento Tusurumaki) placed high enough to also come into J2 next year. J2 will be a full 18 teams and will either form a new cup competition, join the Nabisco Cup tournament, or remain at the current 3 against each team round robin season.
Replacing the 3 teams promoted to J2 will be Machida Zelvia, V-Varen Nagasaki, and Honda Lock. For those wondering which team will be the next to join J2 after the 2009 JFL season, Tokyo's Machida Zelvia is one of the strongest candidates and looks set to become the third J. League team in the prefecture sooner rather than later.