Montedio Yamagata's relegation from the J.League was confirmed on Thursday as they lost 2-0 at Vissel Kobe.
With basement club Avispa Fukuoka already relegated, Montedio already looked sure to join them but could mathematically have caught 17th-placed Urawa Red Diamonds prior to the result, which was sealed by first-half goals from Takayuki Yoshida (30) and Fereira Popo (44).
Avispa drew 2-2 with Shimizu S-Pulse, with all the goals coming in a frantic eight-minute spell. Keisuke Iwashita's penalty (61) was added to by Eddy Bosnar (64) as Shimizu took a 2-0 lead, but Avispa immediately hit back through Rafael Ramazotti (66) and Kosuke Nakamachi (68).
Kashiwa Reysol maintained their narrow advantage in the race for the title with a thumping 4-0 win over Albirex Niigata as their closest rivals also won.
Leandro Domingues gave Kashiwa the lead with an early penalty and added a second goal before half-time to put his side firmly in control. Jorge Wagner scored the third in the 55th minute and Junya Tanaka rounded off the win in stoppage time.
Second-placed Gamba Osaka remain just two points behind after a 1-0 win over Kashima Antlers, Rafinha with the only goal in the 57th minute.
And Nagoya Grampus are only a point further back in third after they also won, 3-1 at home to Cerezo Osaka. Jungo Fujimoto's opener was cancelled out by Rui Komatsu's penalty, but Josh Kennedy restored Grampus' lead before half-time and Kensuke Nagai made the result safe in the 76th minute.
Those three teams look set to contest top spot, with only five games remaining and a seven-point gap to fourth-placed Yokohama F Marinos.
The latter could have been more firmly out of contention, though, were it not for a dramatic late rally to beat Vantforet Kofu 2-1 today. They trailed to Mike Havenaar's 67th-minute goal but Masashi Oguro and Kentaro Moriya scored in the last four minutes to turn the game on its head.
The turnaround also left Kofu in the relegation zone, two points behind Urawa who lost 3-0 at home to Jubilo Iwata. Ryoichi Maeda scored twice for Jubilo, whose second goal came from Ryohei Yamazaki.
Omiya Ardija eased their lingering relegation fears as Keigo Higashi's early goal earned them a 1-0 win at Kawasaki Frontale, while Vegalta Sendai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima drew 0-0.