The Sunwolves will not compete in the proposed Australian domestic competition due to logistics and stringent coronavirus border restrictions, meaning the Japanese franchise's time in Super Rugby is over.
Rugby Australia and the Sunwolves decided Monday the Tokyo-based team will not take part from next month in the modified five-nation Super Rugby competition in which the axed Western Force and Sunwolves were included as possible participants.
Even if the Sunwolves were able to enter Australia, they would be required to complete a 14-day quarantine period and find a permanent base for the 12-week competition.
"It is extremely unfortunate and disappointing but the reality is that the Sunwolves' time in Super Rugby has come to an end for now," team CEO Yuji Watase said in a statement.
"It has been an honor and privilege for us to be part of the toughest rugby competition in the world. We wish to thank all our wonderful fans, sponsors, partners, players and staff for all they have done for rugby in Japan and the Sunwolves organization."
Rugby Australia put out a statement on the decision it called an "unfortunate conclusion."
"Despite the best efforts and intentions of both organizations, challenges created by COVID-19 will prevent the team from having time to adequately prepare and be ready to participate in the Australia-based competition which is planned for a July 3 kick-off," the statement read.
Super Rugby announced in March 2019 the Japanese team would be cut at the end of the 2020 competition after five seasons in the fold.
The Japanese team won just eight games over four Super Rugby seasons between 2016 and 2019, finishing at the foot of the division in which they competed each time.
They opened their 2020 campaign with a 36-27 victory over the Rebels and had compiled a 1-5 record when the season was called off in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think the image of the team continuing to challenge the world's strongest teams led to the encouragement of so many people," Japan Rugby Football Union President Shigetaka Mori said in a statement. "We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the fans for their support."
"The five-year path the Sunwolves forged will never disappear," Mori said. "Utilizing the experience gained from the team's existence, we will work together with the fans and everyone involved toward the further development of Japan Rugby."