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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 13:23 GMT
Celtic edge closer to Mizuno deal
Kouki Mizuno
Mizuno is seen as one of Japan's brightest stars
Japanese star Koki Mizuno will be granted the work permit he requires to join Celtic, BBC Sport understands.

Mizuno has not made the required number of international appearances to automatically guarantee a work visa.

But a Department of Employment advisory panel met on Wednesday and approved the 22-year-old midfielder's case.

Mizuno, who plays wide on the right, is coming to the end of his contract with J-League side JEF United and will undergo a medical on Thursday.

But Celtic fans may not see much of Mizuno or last season's Player of the Year Shunsuke Nakamura in the coming weeks due to international commitments.

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Japan begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in February and Mizuno and Nakamura are likely to be called up for warm-up games against Chile and Bosnia-Herzegovina later this month.

Nakamura arrived at the club in July 2005, in a 2.5m deal from Reggina, and has been a big hit in Scotland.

The playmaker is on the verge of a return to fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.



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