Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Thursday called up four strikers from a second-string team that won the East Asian Cup last month to boost the Blue Samurai's firepower when they host Guatemala and Ghana.
The J-League foursome will join Manchester United attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and CSKA Moscow playmaker Keisuke Honda in a 23-man squad including 11 Europe-based players for the home friendlies.
Japan play Guatemala in Osaka on September 6 and Ghana in Yokohama four days later.
"As a matter of course, I have expectations for the new players," Zaccheroni said. "I will prod the team to grow as one and become more united through the two matches."
One of the four strikers is Cerezo Osaka's Yoichiro Kakitani, 23, who made his senior international debut at the East Asian Cup in South Korea, where he won the golden boot with three goals as Japan roared on with two wins and one draw.
The others, all also aged 23, are Manabu Saito (Yokohama Marinos), Masato Kudo (Kashiwa Reysol) and Yuya Osako ( Kashima Antlers). They scored a total of four goals at the regional tournament.
Bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students is at "epidemic" levels in Japanese schools, exacerbated by government's failure to institute effective policies, inadequate teacher training and strong gender segregation, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report released Friday. (Japan Times)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British counterpart David Cameron agreed Thursday in London on the need to promote increased government spending and other economic measures to bolster the flagging global economy, while vowing to work together in fighting terrorism. (Kyodo)
Hokkaido Prefectural Police are questioning a man and his sister after the discovery of a body, believed to be that of their younger sister, inside the residence they all share in Sapporo, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 5). (Tokyo Reporter)
East Japan Railway Co. said Thursday it has resolved a computer malfunction that caused all electronic signboards for shinkansen bullet trains to shut down the previous day, causing confusion for travelers during the Golden Week holiday period. (Japan Times)
The popular black bear character Kumamon resumed activities as the official mascot of Kumamoto on Thursday, three weeks after the southwestern Japanese prefecture was devastated by the first of two major earthquakes. (Japan Today)
A man was found dead after being run over by a car on a road in Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture, but police said Tuesday that he may have already been dead after being hit by another car earlier. (Japan Today)