Neymar, hailed as the "modern successor" to Pele, netted with a stunning half volley in the third minute to help Brazil beat Japan 3-0 in Group A. Paulinho and Jo added the other goals in the second half.
The win, Brazil's second straight after a 3-0 victory against France this week in a friendly, might lift some of the gloom surrounding the national team.
Even after topping France, Brazil had won just two of its past seven matches and manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was being criticized for his less than free flowing style of play. Neymar wasn't immune to criticism, either.
Japan became the first nation to qualify for the World Cup but its defeat Saturday followed a 4-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly in October.
The probability for the Kanto region to be hit by a powerful earthquake - lower 6 or higher on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 - within 30 years has risen, the government panel's latest quake probability map showed Friday. (The Japan News)
Sales of special Suica cards to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tokyo Station were canceled soon after they began Saturday, as a large crowd of people flooded the area. (The Japan News)
The Niigata prefectural government started clearing a section of National Highway Route 405 in Tsunan in the prefecture on Friday, after a landslide mixed with snow blocked off about 50 meters of the road the night before. (The Japan News)
The Chiba Public Safety Commission has banned a 29-year-old man from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, from riding a bicycle for 90 days, after he was found guilty of cycling under the influence of "kiken" quasi-legal drugs. (Japan Times)