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.
The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will cease using an emblem that some critics said may have been plagiarized, NHK reported Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if the suspension was to be temporary or if the logo would be scrapped. (Japan Times)
Students, mothers and other protesters staged rallies at more than 200 locations across Japan on Sunday, calling for the scrapping of controversial security legislation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to enact to strengthen the role of Japanese forces abroad. (Kyodo)
HIROSAKI, Aomori - The tower of Hirosaki Castle, a state-designated important cultural asset, is being towed dozens of meters away from its original location as part of a project to repair its stone walls. (The Japan News)