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The 2017 Annual Congress of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) unanimously decided on May 19 to expand the top division Women's World Championship tournament from eight (8) to ten (10) teams, starting with the 2019 competition hosted by Finland.

To accommodate the change, the Czech Republic will remain in the top division despite finishing last in the 2017 Women's World Championship.  Japan is the 9th team in the 2019 Women's World Championship, promoted after winning the 2017 Division 1 Group A tournament in April.  Lower division tournaments are held in Olympic years (even though the top division tournament is not), so the 2018 Division 1 Group A victor will earn promotion to be the 10th team in the top division in 2019.